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    SportsQuebec's premier youth hockey league bans fighting as part of a cultural shift

    Quebec’s premier youth hockey league bans fighting as part of a cultural shift

    Quebec’s premier youth hockey league bans fighting as part of a cultural shift

    New Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) commissioner Mario Cecchini expressed Thursday the need for a cultural change, and a ban on fights will be part of that change. Here’s what you need to know:

    • Cecchini succeeds Gilles Gordo A 37-year term ended amid scandal It troubled the Canadian Hockey League, which addressed the issue during its introductory press conference, saying: “I think we should at least fix the things that were discussed, like fighting and being hated.”
    • QMJHL governors voted on a new rule two weeks ago that would see players engaging in fights as in-game misconduct. While the details have yet to be finalized, it will be considered if a player defends against an apparent inducement.
    • QMJHL executive board chairman Richard Létourneau, who led the search that led to Cecchini’s job, confirmed the league is moving forward with a fight ban after years of political pressure.
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    What are they saying?

    “Obviously we need to improve these conditions and in some cases eliminate them,” Cecchini said of the wrestling and misting events. “How do we change the culture? With great determination, with great confidence, with great precision and clarity in how you expect everyone to behave. For me, that would be very important.

    On Thursday, Létourneau said the QMJHL membership assembly approved a ban on fighting on February 23.

    “Yes, fighting is prohibited,” Létourneau said. “Now we have to finalize the details. We have an extended hockey team of general managers, coaches and owners to come up with a way to enforce this rule, get it accepted and approved by the minister at our June members council.

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    In September 2020, the QMJHL changed its rule for fighting, adding a 10-minute misconduct penalty to the usual five minutes for fighting, and a one-game suspension for any player who accumulated three fights during the season. The change came in reaction to pressure from Isabelle Charest, Quebec’s education minister at the time, to threaten to fund the 12 Quebec-based league teams.

    Despite the recent vote, Charest, who is now Quebec’s minister of sports, recreation and outdoor activities, is seeking a suspension for sports misconduct. He did not rule out the possibility of forcing the league to pass a provincial law that respects the safety of the game.

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    “We don’t want to get to that point,” Charest said. Le Journal de Québec on March 7. “It is your decision to use such a measure. They have the expertise and experience to implement various regulations. But, in my opinion, many leagues in the world still insist on the need for something that is not negotiable.

    Cecchini intends to meet with Charest soon.

    (Photo: Matthew Belanger/Getty Images)


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