For hockey fans, fights are an exciting part of the game. Heck, for some they’re the main attraction! If you’re lucky enough, you might get to see a fight or two during an NHL game. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see fights like this. Either for their awe-inspiring brutality, their sheer violence, or their epic length, these hockey fights have etched their place in the ice sheet of history as the most infamous you’ll ever see.
Brawl in a City of Un-Brotherly Love
The date was March 22, 1996. This was not just a fight—it was a brawl, in a city that claims to be all about brotherly love. While both teams wanted to win this game, it was very obvious that neither the Senators nor the Flyers cared much about the score. They combined for 419 penalty minutes throughout the game, a league record!
Philadelphia’s leading knuckle man Donald Brashear and Ottawa’s feisty enforcer Rob Ray started the main event with 1:45 left, as the Flyers sat on a 5-2 lead. They threw haymaker after haymaker until the referees escorted them to the penalty box.
That wasn’t the end, however. Players cleared the benches and started fighting for several minutes, and before long even the goalies Robert Esche and Patrick Lalime were throwing lumbering blows each other’s way. On the ensuing faceoff, more fights broke out all over the ice. In took an hour and a half to sort out all the penalties. Officials ejected a total of 20 players in the melee.
A Fight With Real 50’s Swing
In 1953, a fight captured everyone’s attention because of a different kind of“swing”. The Montreal Canadiens played the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Canadien’s winger Bernard Geoffrion tussled with the Ranger’s Ron Murphy, but instead of hurling a roundhouse blow, Geoffrion swung his stick and connected with Murphy’s face.
Murphy dropped to the ice unconscious. Many thought he died. He lived but suffered a concussion and a broken jaw. Geoffrion later coached the Rangers and the Canadiens and found his way into Hall of Fame. But if he wanted to see his team play the Rangers that year, he had to buy Montreal Canadiens tickets, because the NHL suspended him from playing against the Rangers for the rest of that season.
The Battle of The Wales
Before the puck even hit the ice in the Wales Conference Finals, May 14, 1987, Philadelphia’s Ed Hospodar took a little offense to a Canadien’s pre-faceoff tradition—sending the puck down the ice and into the opponents net. He went after Shayne Corson, who had fired the puck and ran into a brawl-hungry Claude Lemieux. Before long both benches emptied.
The famous hockey brawl went on for a solid ten minutes with the likes of Chris “Knuckles” Nilan, and Dave Brown, headlining the fight card.
As you can see these infamous hockey fights were all tooth-shattering, knuckle-busting brawls that are more than memorable. Violent, and revenge-quenching, they are part of a tradition honed from one need—to protect your pride and your team.