I don’t know how many times I have seen a play where I have said, "I guarantee that guy doesn’t do that in a league where there’s fighting." Do we want to see bench clearing brawls in college hockey? Nope! Not saying that at all.
Mike Chambers, Denver Post – If that player came from the NCAA ranks, he's more likely to be a loose cannon, because college hockey has such stiff penalties for fighting, which draws a game misconduct and ensuing one-game suspension. The NCAA also mandates full facial protection with a mask. While that might seemingly make the NCAA game safer, Mitchell said what it does is encourage more cheap shots, because players don't fear retaliation.I had an ex-college hockey player once tell me. “I can go up and smart off to the biggest guy on the ice, because I know I don’t have to fight.”
"If you take fighting out of the game, you're going to have guys taking liberties on your top players, and trust me, that thought is in the back of their minds: 'Hey, if I'm going to go out there and do something stupid, I might have to answer the bell. Someone is going to be come looking for me,' " Mitchell said. "So if (fighting is) out of the game, they have no worries."
The semi-pro Canadian Hockey League (major junior) mimics the NHL regarding its rules, including fighting, and offers a choice of cages or visors. NCAA hockey is often dubbed "gladiators on ice," with players less fearful of opponents because of the severe fighting penalties and added facial protection. Cross checks to the face mask are delivered instead of punches to the face.
Since fighting is not part of the college game, the majority of concussions hockey players suffer are a result of contact to the head from a shoulder or elbow or having a head smashed against the boards or glass. Moreover, NCAA players often get away with landing glove punches, but just because it's not a bare fist connecting with a open face doesn't mean it isn't damaging to the head.