AHL's New Fighting Rules Leave Goulbourne Unaffected

Sunday, July 17, 2016
Tyrell Goulbourne isn't going to think twice about dropping the gloves with the Phantoms in 2016-17. Photo: Nina Weiss
The American Hockey League may have added some new rules in regards to fighting, but Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Tyrell Goulbourne doesn’t think there will be too much of a difference around the league this fall. He certainly isn’t going to change the way he plays.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to change a thing in my game. I will not play any different,” Goulbourne replied when asked if he’ll have to think twice about dropping the gloves in the 2016-17 season.

Under the new rules, any player who accrues 10 fighting majors in the regular season will receive an automatic one-game suspension for his 10th fight. In addition, if a player reaches 13 fights each subsequent fighting major will result in a two-game suspension.

There are also rules deterring players from fighting before, during or immediately after a face-off, with those choosing to do so receiving an automatic game misconduct. Under this new rule, Goulbourne and ex-Phantoms forward Zack Stortini would have been suspended for this altercation off the opening face-off of a game last season.

“If I get 10 fights, I get 10 fights. If I get suspended for a game, it’s whatever it is. But I can’t see myself getting that many and being worried about it. I’m going to play the same way every single game,” Goulbourne explained. “If there’s a cheap shot or a time where I have to stand up for a teammate or get the energy change I’ll do it even if I’m at 10 fights. It’s not going to make a difference to me.”

Goulbourne finished his rookie season with the Phantoms last season with seven fighting majors, three shy of what will be suspension-worthy altercations this upcoming season in the AHL. The cracking down on fighting isn't something he's not already used to either.

"It’s how it was my last two years of junior, so I’m pretty comfortable with that," Goulbourne said of his familiarity with not being able to fight in the face-off dots. "I know my way around it. I won’t say how to do it, but everybody kind of knows their way around it and to wait for the play to get going. It eliminates the senseless fights and fighting for no reason."

"I try to stay away from that," Goulbourne continued. "I don’t fight just to fight, just to impress somebody. I’m already in the system, I don’t need to fight to impress somebody and everyone knows that. I just want to play my game and if the fights come, they come."

While other players in the league might have to second-guess themselves on the way they play and how they handle themselves on the ice, Goulbourne doesn't seem to think he'll need to make any adjustments following the AHL's rule changes for the upcoming season.

"The way I play, there are going to be fights," Goulbourne said at the Flyers' annual development camp earlier this month. "I’m going to the answer the bell every time. I’m not changing the way I play."


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