For so long, fighting has been a culture in hockey. However, the last few years have seen a sharp decline in the number of fights. Reports show they have been 20% fewer hockey fights in the last five years.
Today it seems like the NHL and other hockey federations in the world are finally putting their act together. The days when players would pounce on each other as bloodthirsty carnivals look like a thing of the past. The league officials have put measures to increase the safety of the players and give a little more credibility and family friendliness to the game.
Many people are opposed to the idea of fighting being allowed in hockey. I don’t intend to dwell in the ethical of hockey fights because different people have different intentions when they sit at the stands. Instead, I’ll take you through some of the most popular hockey fights in history.
Number 6 Tiger Williams vs. Dave Schultz
Indeed, no credible list of top hockey fights could fail to have Tiger Williams appearing. He has the highest number of NHL penalty minutes with 4421. It is estimated that Williams fought 234 times in his career and therefore has lots of scars and bruises knuckles to show.
It’s as if he was trained in this fight more than in the actual game because he won the majority of these duels.
On April 2nd, 1976, he was involved in a fight with Philadelphia’s captain Bobby Clacky. Then, Dave Stewart (who holds the highest number of penalty minutes given to a player in one season at 472) took off his gloves and fought fiercely till their arms were fatigued.
Number 5 Vincent Lecavalier versus Jerome Iginla
Jerome Ignla is one of the most brutal players in the history of hockey. As he finally bowed out of the game after the 2017/18 season, we can’t forget some of the moments he went knuckles of with other players.
On May 29th, 2004, Jerome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier met at the Stanley Cup Finals, but; they were ready to do more than play hockey. The two forwards crashed in a battle of both skill and emotion. Lecavlier, the Tampa Bay Lighting captain, dropped his gloves and fought one o the most thrilling fights the game has ever seen.
Number 4 Montreal Canadiens vs Quebec Nordiques
Today, the Quebec Nordiques goes by the name Colorado Avalanche, and; they have used both skill and brutality to get their way up. The team has ever since lost the glory that they once had among fans.
In one event in 1984 April 20th, the Quebec Nordiques were playing with the Montreal Canadiens in the sixth game of the Adams division final. Tension grew from one game to the other, and by the 6th round, the players were already fuming with anger, and the punches were flying all over.
Referee Bruce Hood gave 252 penalty minutes in that match alone. The referee then retired after the season, probably because of the shame that engulfed him after that match.
Number 3 Boston Bruins versus the New York Rangers
On December 23rd, 1979, everyone was in the Christmas mood but also ready to throw punches. Bruins and Rangers certainly were trying to get to some new low, and this fight was evidence of that.
They waited until the game until the last horn was blown. Then, one of the Boston Bruins players wanted to revenge an earlier incident.
The drama that unfolded was so severe that one of the Rangers fans stole a player’s stick and beat him up with it. That’s when the Bruins players and fans joined in and beat up the Rangers fan named John captain badly.
Number 2 Saint Louis versus Boston in 1969
There were lots of precursors to this specific fight. It all started with a preseason game.
Anger and rivalry build up day after the other, and they waited for the next clash. Then, during the match in 1969, one of the Boston Bruins players decided not to hold it anymore.
They started swinging sticks, and defenseman Ted Greene fought badly with Wayne Mackie. Ted Greene fractured his skull and had severe brain damage.
From that time, Ted Green started wearing a pioneer helmet. Remember, helmets were not necessary until 1979. And, this was one of the reasons why the NHL decided to Bush helmets as one of the gear.
Number 1 Ottawa vs. Philadelphia on March 5, 2004
Can you imagine a goalie fight infield players, five different fights, and 419 penalty minutes in one single match? Now that was Philadelphia versus Ottawa on 2004 March 5th.
It all started as a regular game, and two of the teams were going on professionally. But then Donald Brashear became angry in the process and started to fight Rob Ray. It was dramatic as he jumped over the referee, and this incited all the other players to join in the battle. The fight ranks as one of the most memorable hockey fights of all teams, mainly because it involved the entire teams.
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