TV censors settle tussle over hockey fights

Canadian b'cast council rules they don't promote violence

TORONTO -- Breathe easy, sports fans, Canada's still safe for hockey fights.

TV censors here have ruled that the airing of professional hockey fights in a local TV sportcast does not promote or exploit violence away from the ice.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said Wednesday that clips from NHL game fights that aired Feb. 7 on the Rogers Sportsnet cable sports channel did not constitute a breach of the voluntary industry code on TV violence.

"The reporting of the fighting was matter-of-fact, attracting no greater emphasis than the scoring of the goals or other exciting plays during the game updates," the CBSC panel concluded.

The ruling sprang from a TV viewer complaint that airing the fights "exploit violent action outside activity of the sport."

Rogers, defending their broadcast, held that fighting is a part of NHL hockey and falls within the accepted bounds of the sport.

Critics of ice hockey violence often point to coverage of high-profile fights on TV sports highlight shows as grounds for an all-out ban.
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