we live in a world where people like to change this just to change things. look at the nfl, i for one don't even enjoy watching the games anymore and i used to be a big football fan. as far as i know fighting, whether it be in hockey, boxing or mma takes two willing combatants. no one can force you to drop the gloves. if you dont like fighting or the "after the whistle shenanigans" go watch baseball where there is zero emotion and everyone acts like robots. hockey is a special game and that is why i love to watch it, dont make it like every other bland sport.
Safety and Wellness are the buzzwords in physical sports anymore. That's just where we are in the world. Medicine has advanced enough that the general public are made aware of the consequences of actions. If people knew about these things in the 70s, it would have been stopped in the 70s.
It's taken umpteen years in the NFL and NHL, but it has long begun to outweigh the entertainment value.
With all due respect to those who grew up loving the game simply because of fighting, it sounds like a personal problem in your cases. You're the people the NHL doesn't care of they lose. If straight pugilism is your thing, you'll be sent on your merry way. That's no different than people who watch NASCAR just for the crashes.
The scenarios CBC Hot Stove discussed last night made more sense than a strict ban of fighting, which is never going to happen anyways.
It's pretty simple actually. If you remove fighting, then you may aswell remove the goalposts, the boards and the sticks. Fighting has been part of hockey since the beginning.
"enforcers" are already being fazed out of the game by GM's. Nobody wants to play that useless goon that can't skate and hang with the talented players anymore. At least back in the day, "enforcers" were players. Not simply fighters.
The "new" NHL has made enforcers pretty much useless, which is great for the game. I personally love it when I see someone like danny briere fighting, or Schenn, or Richards, or Hartnell. It's exciting, it changes the momentum of the game, and it's generally a lot safer when they are allowed to get out of everyone's way and sort it out.
For those on the fighting causes concussion issues, this is a good read from a researcher who compared hockey fighting injuries to reports from ER's on injuries sustained during other types of fighting, such as street assaults, etc. Found you are more likely to received a concussion in hockey from the hitting/freak accidents than you are from fighting. Most of the power of strikes in boxing and fighting sports come from the ability to plant your legs as well as being able to transfer all the energy of a blow through the padded glove. Bare knuckle fighters are less likely to strike certain parts of the head because of fear for hurting their hands, same goes for hockey, although it appears less strategic on the ice, the power they generate is far less than someone on solid ground.
Fighting is not part of the game - rules that penalized fighting have been in the league's rule book for 90 years. But the NHL has a high tolerance for an illegal activity and the current rule 46 has more text about how to fight than it does about the penalties for doing it. And hockey is the only professional sport that makes room on it's roster for a player that engages in activity that is against the rules.
I don't think that you can totally remove fighting, but the NHL can do a lot about the staged bouts and unnecessary fights that go on. Give any participant in a fight a game misconduct. If you really, really need to retaliate for something then make sure it's important enough to get tossed.