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Tight fight regulations: Matthew Barnaby supports the QMJHL

Although it’sbeen known for about two months that the QMJHL will be tightening the screws on fighting within its circuit this coming season, the subject has received a lot more attention in recent days due to the league’s official announcement.

Milan Lucic had spoken out against the new sanctions, which will result in expulsions and suspensions for guys who throw down the gloves. Fighting is not “banned”, but it will be very strictly regulated.

In the case of Lucic, who has thrown down the gloves more than once in his career, it’s not necessarily surprising to see him preaching for “his parish”. We know he’s all about hitting and fighting, so he’s not going to spit in the hand that feeds him.

But just because Lucic disagrees doesn’t necessarily mean that all fighters do. Today, for example, Matthew Barnaby (who has fought many times) spoke out in favor of the sanctions announced by the QMJHL.

He played his junior field hockey in the Quebec circuit.

Barnaby, who began his career in the QMJHL with the Beauport Harfangs, explains that the only reason he was able to play in Quebec’s junior circuit was because he was beaten no less than 13 times in three days during training camp.

He was 17 at the time.

In four years in the QMJHL, he amassed no fewer than 1186 penalty minutes, mainly due to the fact that he was constantly fighting. And when he thinks back on it, Barnaby doesn’t think it makes any sense.

Careful, though: Barnaby isn’t saying that fighting should be abolished everywhere in the field hockey world. In his eyes, the guys in the NHL are much more physically mature, so there’s a big distinction to be made between fighting in the NHL and fighting in the QMJHL.

It’s the latter that he wants to see disappear, not (necessarily) the former. And you know what? I agree with him.

We know that the proportion of young QMJHLers who have a career in the NHL is pretty slim. So, in my opinion, it’s completely ridiculous to risk creating permanent damage to youngsters who may never have the chance to make a living from their field hockey career.

And I don’t believe for a second that it will have any real impact on youngsters’ chances of playing in the NHL: fighting has been abolished in the NCAA, and youngsters are leaving the American college circuit by the dozen.

If professionals want to fight, at least they’re lucky enough to be paid handsomely to do so, and they do so knowingly. I’m not saying that fighting in the NHL is a good thing, but Barnaby’s nuance is interesting and, above all, makes sense.

And I hope that his point of view will help convince those who are still hesitating of the merits of this measure.

In brief

– Kyle Dubas, who drafted Rodion Amirov out of Toronto, issued a statement honoring the youngster’s memory.

– What do you think?

– Ezekiel Elliott joins the New England Patriots.

– Justin Verlander continues to be the talk of the MLB. My text on the subject.

– Quite a story.

– Great news.

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