Hershey Bears executive on fights: ‘It’s probably always going to be there’

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HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Thousands watching in the stands and TV saw the fight that knocked Hershey Bears player Kale Kessy unconscious for several minutes during Tuesday night’s game at the Giant Center.

Kessy was alert and conscious after being carted off the ice; he was later cleared by medical staff.

“Injuries are going to happen and it’s unfortunate that it happened the way it did last night. You never want to see that,” said Bryan Helmer, Vice President of hockey operations for the Hershey Bears.

Helmer says fighting on the ice has always been involved in the sport.

“It’s kind of like boxing on ice and you’re allowed to hit in the face in boxing so you can do that in hockey too,” he said.

Helmer says fighting is at an all-time low in both AHL and NHL. Over the past eight years, more rules and stricter penalties have been implemented to deter fighting. The Bears say during its 2014-2015 season, its players were involved in 85 fights. With just a few months left of this year’s season, so far, there’s only been 15 fights on the ice.

“It’s going to get to a point where there will be very limited fights, but to say that they’re going to take it out, it’s probably always going to be there,” Helmer said. “It’s a competitive sport and always going to be physical and there’s a lot of emotions out on the ice and guys will turn to that situation.”

The Derry Township Police chief said the fight does not result in a criminal offense because it was a mutual combat fight during a professional sport.

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