The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has toughened penalties for fighting, moving from five to fifteen penalty minutes for dropping the gloves.
RULE 47 – All players involved in a fight will now be assessed a misconduct penalty (duration of ten minutes) which will be added to the major penalty (five minutes), except if a player involved is considered an instigator or an aggressor.
An automatic 1-game suspension will be assessed after the third fight, and for any additional fight.
Players will now receive an automatic one-game suspension after their third fight of the season, and for each fight thereafter. The prior threshold was eleven fights before the required ban.
Thirty-three players in the QMJHL had three or more fights last season with the highest clocking in at seven scraps, well short of the amount required for a mandatory suspension.
Instigators will also pick up a minor, major, and misconduct penalty going forward.
“It’s very important to protect our players, to make sure [they’re] playing in a safe environment,” said QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau. “Today in the hockey business, the way that the game has improved, it’s based on speed [and] skill, [not fighting].”
“I think we’ve done a great job. There’s some room for improvement and we will continue to work on it. And we’re convinced that the adoption of the actual playing rules and consequences following a fight will have a positive impact on fighting.”
The league’s 18 teams voted to confirm the rule changes Wednesday via video conference.
The Q provided a situational comparison to show the change under the updated rule:
|Fighting Code 2-2||Major penalty||Major penalty + Misconduct penalty|
|Code 4-1 Aggressor||Automatic 1-game suspension||Automatic 1-game suspension|
|Code 4-1 Agressor – Goaltender judged aggressor against a player||Automatic 5-game suspension||Automatic 5-game suspension|
|Code 4-1 Aggressor – Goaltender judged aggressor on another goaltender||Automatic 10-game suspension||Automatic 10-game suspension|
|Code 1-4, 2-2 and 3-4 Instigator||Minor penalty, major penalty and misconduct penalty||Minor penalty, major penalty, and misconduct penalty|
|Code 1-4, 2-2 Instigator||Minor penalty and major penalty||This situation will not be available anymore|
|Code 4-2 in the last 5 minutes of play with a two-goal differential||Game misconduct penalty||Game misconduct penalty|
|Code 1-4, 2-2 and 4-4 Instigator in the last 5 minutes of play or in overtime||Minor penalty, major penalty, game misconduct penalty||Minor penalty, major penalty, game misconduct penalty|
|Code 4-3 Fight between a player and a goaltender||Automatic 5-game suspension||Automatic 5-game suspension|
|Code 4-6 Second fight by the same player during the same stoppage of play||Game misconduct penalty||Game misconduct penalty|
|Code 4-7 Second fight during the same stoppage of play||Automatic 1-game suspension||Automatic 1-game suspension|
|Code 4-10 Staged fight||Automatic 1-game suspension||Automatic 2-game suspension|
|Accumulation of code 2.2||Automatic 1-game suspension starting with the 11th fight||a- Automatic 1-game suspension starting with the 3rd fight
b- Automatic 1-game suspension for any additional fight
|Accumulation of codes 3.4, 4 and 5||Starting with a 4th infraction, an automatic 1-game suspension||Starting with a 4th infraction, an automatic 1-game suspension|
|Players involved in the first battle during the warm-up period||Automatic 10-game suspension||Automatic 10-game suspension|
The Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League are reportedly not considering similar changes at this time.
The OHL has seen a decrease in fighting since implementing an automatic suspension after a player’s fourth fight.