Fighting is part of hockey. Like it or dislike it, at this point in time, it simply is a part of the game. Personally, as a fan and as a writer who covers the game at the NHL level, I think of it like Icing or Offsides; I don't like or dislike it, it's simply part of the game.
If it were not part of the game, it would be extremely dumb, just as it is when it occurs outside of a game (or a profession, such as soldier or police officer or kick boxing consultant) that it is a part of. These are not the thoughts of some liberal pacifist or a coward, although I would happily admit to being both of those as opposed to fighting over it. These are the thoughts of somebody who is smarter than people who get into fights. Any time somebody gets in a fight, it's for a dumb reason and it carries with it some really dumb consequences...
- You don't look cool - You might think you look like Keanu Reeves executing smooth martial arts moves while wearing an expensive suit in The Matrix, but it's highly more likely that you're rolling around on the ground, making weird grunting noises while your pants are halfway down your ass and huge clumps of hair, natural or textile-based, are coming off by the fistful. Basically, you look like a dipshit.
- You get hurt - Fighting involves conflict with someone trying to punch you in the face! Have you ever been punched in the face? It fucking hurts!
- You could hurt someone else - Do you really want something like that on your conscience forever?
- You might get arrested - "What are you in for?" "Fighting." "Oh, so I suppose you think you can kick my ass, huh?" I didn't say that." Yeah, in jail-speak, you kinda did.
- You could pay a fine - Do you have extra money to pay for something like that? Of course not. Nobody does because there's no such thing as "extra money".
- You could do community service - Saturday mornings, orange coveralls, picking up trash on the side of the road and having to ask permission to go to the bathroom. What about that sounds remotely appealing?
- You could be seriously injured or killed - If I'm in a situation where I have to fight, it means I have no other choice and I'm legitimately concerned for my safety. As such, I'm going to fight dirty with the intent of ending it as quickly and permanently as possible. That means eyeballs and ball balls and other vital organ, soft-tissue-y areas are in play and at risk for as much punishment as i can possibly inflict, again with the intent of ending it efficiently. I promise I'm not the only person who feels that way about getting into fights.
- You won't be remembered the way you think you will - Nobody is going to say "Remember that time _____ beat the crap out of _____ in that great fight?". Everybody will say "Remember that time those two assholes ruined a good time by getting in a fight?"
And those dumb reasons I mentioned? Almost always it's over a girl (or a guy) who doesn't want anything to do with you. If that isn't it, it's something even less than that, like somebody insults a shirt you're wearing. It's never a noble cause. You're not locked in combat with Hans Gruber on the 30th floor of Nakatomi Plaza battling for the lives of innocent hostages.
Don't be dumb; don't get into fights, you dummies.