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Poll: Canadians divided over fighting rule change suggested by NHL GMs @NHLdotcom

OTTAWA - A new poll suggests that Canadians are divided over proposed rules to curb fighting in the NHL, just as many are split on the issue in general.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found that 42 per cent of respondents believe NHL general managers didn't go far enough with a new 10-minute penalty designed to cut down on "staged fights."

However, 39 per cent of people said the change was about right.

The league's 30 general managers proposed the rule change during their annual meetings last week in Naples, Fla. It must be approved by the competition committee and NHL's board of governors.

The proposed change was more popular among respondents who identified themselves as hockey fans - with 50 per cent of those people saying the changes were about right.

"The NHL's GMs clearly have a keen awareness of how core hockey fans feel about fighting and the severity of penalties that ought to be levied against those that engage in fights, and this proposal appears to be seen among most of that group as striking an appropriate balance," said Jeff Walker of Harris-Decima. "Unfortunately, across society as a whole, expectations in terms of the severity of penalties for fighting are higher, and for them, this proposal is not meeting that test."

The phone poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted from March 12 to 15. The sample size has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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