Remember the days, not so long ago, when fighting was such a big and entertaining part of junior hockey and goons and enforcers were just as popular — maybe more — than the skilled players?
Well, fighting is now a very small part of hockey to the extent that when a scrap breaks out, it almost looks awkward, not to mention foolish.
And as players and coaches and fans have adapted to the sharp decline in fighting, they can probably similarly adjust to hockey without contact for as long as the coronavirus remains the health risk that it currently is.
For those fans and writers who say they will not watch junior hockey that does not include body contact, the choice is theirs.
And while a proposed return of junior hockey in Ontario by government and health officials may not be the most ideal scenario, it is better than nothing according to the vast majority of players, coaches and fans who I have talked to.
In order words, no contact beats no hockey at all.
To be sure, junior hockey without body contact will result in considerable altering and adjusting by coaches and players alike. And defending by way of stick checking may have to take over from body contact.
There may be more shots on net, which will mean more scoring opportunities and more goals. (Which — except for the goalies — may not be a bad thing.)
Junior hockey, when it returns, is not likely to be played in the usual way. But let us remember that these are unusual times.
Public health and safety has never been so paramount in the lives of so many.
And if, in this instance, the way junior hockey is played has to be altered, then so be it.
And if you don’t like it, don’t play it and don’t watch it.