QMJHL bans fighting for 2023-24 season

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League won't tolerate fighting during games in 2023-24.

Fights are being phased out of the QMJHL. (Getty Images)
Fights are being phased out of the QMJHL. (Getty Images)

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has banned fighting for the upcoming season, the league announced Thursday, becoming the first major junior hockey league in Canada to make the change.

The following punishments will be doled out for anyone who does decide to fight during a game, per the league:

As soon as a fight occurs, those engaged must be systematically ejected from the game. Any player found to have instigated the fight will also receive an automatic one-game suspension.

The person declared to be the aggressor during the fight will receive a minimum of two automatic games of suspension.

In addition to the game misconduct, an automatic game suspension is imposed starting with the player's second fight of the season. This suspension is in addition to the sanctions described in the preceding paragraphs.

In 2020, the QMJHL introduced more strict punishment for fighting by adding a 10-minute misconduct in addition to the five-minute major as in-game penalties. Now there will be no tolerance for fighting at all.

The movement to ban fighting in the QMJHL has been steadily pushed by former NHL enforcer and current Liberal Party member of Quebec’s national assembly, Enrico Ciccone. In 2020, Ciccone introduced a private member’s bill that would ban fighting in amateur sports in the province, except for those involved in combat sports.

"As you know, things have changed through the years and society has changed, and we have numbers, we have scientific reports also that [show] us the damage it can do on your brain," Ciccone told CBC Radio in Oct. 2020.

"We just want to try to work ahead to make sure that these kids don't go through what I went through, what a lot of my teammates went through. … It's not about letting your gloves down. That happened 20 years ago, it was a part of the game. Not anymore," he said.

Quebec had already banned fighting in most of its hockey leagues.

The other leagues in the Canadian Hockey League — the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League – have introduced more fierce punishments for fighting as well, but have not banned it altogether.

The OHL has a three-fight rule that began in 2016. After three fights, a player is suspended two games for each subsequent fight, almost acting like each player has three strikes to use up for the season before being suspended.

The WHL, on the other hand, does not have any potential suspensions or fight limit, but instead requires players to keep their helmets on if a fight takes place.