USA Hockey Considers Eliminating Fighting, Minnesotans React

Updated: 12/21/2013 7:48 PM By: Josh Rosenthal

Next month, USA Hockey's board of directors will consider banning fighting from all levels of amateur hockey in the U.S.

Most levels of the game already ban fighting, but in a hockey-crazy state like this, we wanted to know what Minnesotans think about the potential across-the-board change. We went to the Johnson High School alumni game, where they're celebrating 100 years of hockey, to find out.

Greg Pogreba, who played on Johnson's 1972 team, thinks the ban is a good idea

"I just think that they're going in the right direction," Pogreba said.

Pogreba's wife, Lynn, has a different take and most people tended to agree.

"I had a son who played junior hockey and we enjoyed the fights," she said.

USA Hockey's board of governors will hear the proposal to ban fighting at their winter meetings in January. The new rules could be put into place as early as next season.

Its difficult to talk about where hockey is going without talking about where hockey has been. And if you ask an old timer or two about Johnson High hockey memories, chances are you're not going to hear about a fight.

"It's something I'll never forget my whole life," recalled Zahradka. "It's still the hardest thing for me to take. And this is 50 years later."

He's talking about playing on Johnson's 1967 team. They went undefeated until losing in the championship game.

"You're from Johnson, you had to be the best. You had to be," Zahradka paused before starting up again, "I start talking too much, I'll start crying. That's about it."

Maybe that's about it for fighting in amateur hockey, too. What we do know is losing a fight can hurt a whole lot less than losing a game.