Some may be surprised by the real reason behind the rule. The league isn't wanting to keep helmets on during fights do reduce injuries caused by getting punched in the head without a helmet on. The league is genuinely concerned about the potential for a player to "DIE" if they fall and hit their head on the ice. This is a real concern and they'd gladly take on the risk of hand injuries instead.
That said, while the risk of death is real....what are the chances? There will surely be hand injuries..... Flip side to that is....it doesn't matter what the probability is, there is a risk and if it can't be avoided, do it.
I really don't have much of an opinion on it myself. I'm not on the side arguing to keep fighting in the game nor am I on the other side, but my enjoyment of a fight wouldn't change from the players taking their helmets off.
I guess when I think of a fight, I think of two guys punching each other. As long as they're standing and hitting (or hugging, which happens a lot too), their heads are no where near the ice unless they get knocked out and fall.
It's the take-downs where the heads and ice make contact with enough force enough to cause injury or death.
I'd rather ban the take down and let them lose the helmets.
Maybe I'm just old, but the removal of helmets before a fight has always seemed like the chivalrous thing to do. Back in the day, we didn't have to worry about it, but then when some players started wearing them, it caused a mis-match with one player wearing one and the other not. Taking the helmet off evened the playing field.
Nowadays with everyone wearing them, I guess the playing field is even, but in cases where the combatants are standing mano a mano, it just looks like they're showing respect for the opponent's hands by removing the helmets.
When I see helmets on during a fight, I have the same reaction as when I see youngsters with their panties hanging out of their trousers. You! Young man! Pull up your pants, get a job, and take off your helmet when you fight! <grumble, grumble> Kids these days.
Alas, as usual with nostalgia, the Good Old Days were generally more Old than Good.