Saxon on the Storm: Fighting in the OHL continues to be on the decline
By Tony Saxon, Guelph Today
The Guelph Storm has had three fights this season, as noted goons Mason Primeau, Mark Woolley and Nate Schnarr have all dropped the gloves.
Ten years ago that would have been the last 10 minutes of the third period in a one-sided game.
At their current pace the team would clearly hit an all-time low, which was the 18 fights the team had last year.
According to hockeyfights.com and dropyourgloves.com the OHL is on pace to for roughly 134 fights this season, down around 34 from a year ago and the eighth consecutive season that fight totals have dropped in the league.
Go back 20 years there were over 1,000 fights in the 1998-99 season, led by Ryan Barnes who had 40.
Needless to say the game has changed and the OHL has made sure it has.
First there were rules to eliminate the role of the enforcer, then those rules were tightened even more, adding in ones that have virtually helped eliminate the staged fight.
Ty Bilcke will be remembered as the last of the dying breed.
The Windsor Spitfires winger was the last of the heavyweights, a player whose main role was to create physical mayhem and drop the gloves, as his two goals and 410 career penalty minutes in 179 career games would attest.
Bilcke, who plays senior hockey in Alberta these days after two years of university hockey, had 37 fights for the Spitfires in the 2011-12 OHL season.