Did you know that offside in hockey used to be defined as any forward pass? Yes, you read that correctly. Before 1927, a forward pass in hockey was considered offside. The rule is obviously different now, and certainly less restrictive, but does the game benefit from the restrictions caused by the current offside rule?
Imagine you were explaining hockey to someone who knows absolutely nothing about the sport and you were explaining offside to them. And then, right in the middle of your explanation, this wise, wise person asks “what is the benefit of having an offside rule?”
What would your answer be? I’ve posed the question a lot recently and I’ve yet to come across an explanation that satisfies me. Please note that I’m not saying hockey should get rid of offside. I’m simply looking for how the game benefits from the existence of the rule.
I’m not asking what having an offside rule does. Yes, it prevent cherry picking and the like. But I want to know what the benefit of preventing cherry picking is. Don’t explain what the rule does, explain what the benefit of the rule is.