Hockey Fights- A Player’s Perspective: Jody Shelley


Jan 21; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Eric Boulton (22) and Philadelphia Flyers left wing Jody Shelley (45) fight during the first period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

With this being part 10 in the series I thought we would take a look at the highlights of the series so far according to our writers. Patrick Helper said his favourite interview was Part 6 with Mark Louis. He liked it because he laid out his point of view without trying to change anyone’s mind on the topic. Dylan Nardone liked Part 5 with Cullen Eddy because he thoroughly explained his answers and he really hit the nail on the head about fighting. Geordie Carragher liked Part 7 with Triston Grant because he seemed personable relating back to his first broken nose, knuckles, etc. Geoff Arbuckle said his favourite was Part 1 with Chris Thorburn because he seemed to sum it up perfectly, fighting is not just about sticking up for teammates, policing and such but for changing the momentum and pace of game. Andrew Slawson’s favourite was Part 8 with Mark Borowiecki because his favourite fight was the Patrick Roy Mike Vernon fight mostly but also he seemed to have a sense of humour. What was your favourite interview and why?

Since this is part 10 I have interviewed someone very special: Jody Shelley. Jody started his NHL career in 2000 with the Columbus Blue Jackets he was there for 7 seasons before being traded to the San Jose Sharks during the 2007-2008 season. He played with the Sharks for 3 seasons when he was traded to the  New York Rangers in the 2009-2010 season. He finished out the season with the Rangers and was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers during the off-season. Jody spent his last 3 seasons with the Flyers, announcing his retirement on September 8, 2013. Over the course of his NHL career he was in 196 fights. Currently he works for CBJ as a team ambassador and broadcast associate.

Here is what Jody had to say:

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding fighting in hockey lately, as a player who has been in numerous fights, what is the purpose of fighting in hockey?

Well it serves a couple of purposes but mainly it’s like a big brother role. It’s like a role of being around and being available to protect and make sure no one is takes advantage of a player in certain situations. I know the feeling of pulling into an arena where you know that there’s no toughness on the other team. You kind of feel like you can relax, maybe take advantage of them a little, whereas if they have someone you feel like there is going to be a price to pay if I do take advantage. But definitely it’s a way of deterring some of those situations, making star players feel comfortable out there and its a good thing to have out there when for example in Columbus when you have a game at home in front of 18,000 fans and the team goes out flat you have to go out there and send a message: hey we got fight, we got jam, we’re going to stand up to you guys. It’s definitely a nice card to play, a great thing to have and it’s a great part of our game. I think it’s just talked about too much.

If fighting was taken out of hockey, how would that change the game?

I think it would be a lot chippier and a lot dirtier. You would see a lot less accountability as far as players and it would just be a softer sport I think.  It would be a lot less stand-up. You think of hockey as being a man’s game, the guys are stand-up and fight their battles. Whereas if you take that out I think it would be a lot chippier.

Hitting causes the same amount if not more injuries than fighting, why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than hitting?

I think they have done a good job of making the game safe with the head shots rule and suspensions. Fighting people just don’t understand. They don’t accept it anywhere else in life so that’s why a lot of people have a hard time with it especially people in the media.

Do you have a favourite fight in hockey history?

Well, I liked all of Bob Probert‘s fights. He was awesome because he could go toe to toe. But I guess Bob Probert and Tie Domi at Madison Square Garden had to be one of my favourites.

Do you have a fight in your career that stands out to you?

I guess fight Bob Probert 3 times in one game would probably stand out to me.

*Note* I just wanted to thank Jody for answering my questions.