Over the last few seasons, the effects of CTE on athletes have been studied in great detail, especially in sports such as football and hockey. While research regarding CTE and its effects on the lives of athletes is still very much in its infant stages, many sports fans have already questioned the role of fighting in hockey and whether or not it has an impact on the quality of life for certain players that constantly engage in such activity.
Despite the fact that various elements of the game of hockey have been challenged because of their violent nature and potentially devastating long-term effects, fighting has long been a tradition in hockey and continues to be one that is celebrated by many hockey fans.
The future of fighting in hockey may be an unknown as studies regarding brain trauma in athletes are being explored in much greater fashion nowadays, but those that do choose to knuckle up on the ice on a consistent basis are some of the toughest customers that professional sports have to offer.
Here’s a collection of some of these fearless warriors;
15.) Rob Ray vs. Fan
This might not be your typical hockey fight, and some might question the inclusion of this clip in the top fifteen, but if you’re curious enough to come out on the ice and chirp at a bench full of hockey players, then you deserve to find out what happens.
Rob Ray certainly illustrated the harsh consequences that could be associated with fans coming out onto the ice and acting reckless, but if anything, hockey fans will now think twice before bravely making their way out onto the ice in search of a duel.
Who said that chivalry was dead? Well, at least it’s not extinct in hockey fighting.
Krys Barch certainly didn’t want to have his opponent trip over a glove, at least not before he was able to hit him with a couple of right hands. As it turns out, the friendly reminder to May was definitely not for naught as both of these competitors gave it their all in this slug-fest.
13.) Craig Rivet vs. Bryan Marchment
Not only did Rivet and Marchment trade some heavy blows in this tilt, they must have set some sort of record for shortest stint between penalties. Just when one thinks that the linesmen are going to step in and break up this fight (around 0:40), Rivet and Marchment catch a second wind and exchange another round of punches before fully exhausting themselves. While this edition of Rivet vs. Marchment didn’t feature a knockout, the two scrappers definitely made it worthwhile for the fans.
12.) Mark Tinordi vs. Jason Smith
Why stop fighting when you can keep on, well, fighting?
This is a classic throw-down. Tinordi and Smith weren’t initially involved in their scrap, but once they got together there was no stopping the amount of bombs that these two were dishing out. Much like Marchment vs. Rivet , the referees wanted to step between Tinordi and Smith, but the presence of the zebras just fueled the two skaters even further.
11.) Wendel Clark vs. Marty McSorley
Now this is a classic hockey fight scenario. McSorley targeted Doug Gilmour’s head and Wendel Clark made sure that that type of behavior received the proper retaliation. While this fight was more or less evenly balanced between the two fighters, Clark’s actions illustrated how teammates stick up for one another in the game of hockey.
10.) Jamie Macoun vs. Ron Delorme
For the first 45 seconds or so, I was wondering if this clip was some kind of cruel joke, but it turned out to be the furthest thing from it. Not only did Macoun and Delorme both swing for the fences in this bout, they went at it with a tenacity that made this fight hard not to like.
9.) Daniel Carcillo vs. Derek Dorsett
One only needs to look at Dorsett’s face at the 1:08-1:13 mark to see the determination and willingness that some teammates have when it comes to fighting the other team’s tough guy. Dorsett and Carcillo might have held on to each other’s jerseys for a little while during this scrap, but they also exchanged a fair amount of shots in the process. Daniel Carcillo certainly came out of the gates strong with two quick punches, but Dorsett was equal to the task as he responded quite well to his opponent.
8.) George McPhee vs. Rick Tocchet
This fight is impressive because of the size differential between McPhee and Tocchet. During the time of this fight, Tocchet held about a 40 lbs. advantage on McPhee, but that didn’t deter the undersized skater from giving Tocchet all that he can handle. Even though McPhee drew blood from Tocchet, the intensity of this fight cannot be denied as the fans and even Glen Hanlon were riled up by this impressive showing from an underdog.
7.) Riley Cote vs. Shawn Thornton
These kinds of hockey fights always leave me scratching my head. Does one simply stop feeling the punches after they receive a certain amount of them? While I’m pretty sure Cote and Thornton both felt each others punches, Thornton walked away from the tilt in casual fashion and even gave Cote a pat on the shoulder for his efforts. If anything, Cote and Thornton served as testaments to the old adage that the best defense is a good offense.
6.) Garet Hunt vs. James McEwan
Even though this fight was thoroughly entertaining, it was quite interesting to hear a “Go Green” commercial being aired before Hunt and McEwan started to see red. Hunt and McEwan danced the tango on quite a number of occasions during their junior and minor hockey careers, but this was one for the history books. What was even more impressive about the tilt was that both fighters managed to keep their heads up and in more or less that same position as they were trading shots.
5.) Bobby Nystrom vs. Mel Bridgman
There was certainly no love lost between Mel Bridgman and Bobby Nystrom after this tussle. The footage might be grainy and distorted at times, but the way that Bridgman and Nystrom threw punches at each other made it apparent that there were some underlying circumstances that led to such a heated battle, especially since the linesmen had to struggle to separate the two skaters from each other. This fight might be an oldie, but it’s certainly a goodie.
4.) Jim Vandermeer vs. Aaron Downey
Downey’s fight against Jesse Boulerice might be considered to be one of the greatest hockey fights ever, but this battle has to be up there as well. Downey literally did not let the linesman interfere with his tilt as he put out his hand to signal a “Do Not Disturb” motion. Even though Vandermeer eventually felled Downey, the persistence of these two was something to behold.
3.) Pierre Bouchard vs. Stan Jonathan & Gilles Lupien vs. John Wensink
If this was an audition for the UFC, then Dana White would certainly be pleased. Stan Jonathan would’ve won knockout of the night, and both Gilles Lupien and John Wensink would have probably been praised for their respective ground games. In all seriousness though, Bouchard was on the receiving end of some vicious right and left hands. Despite the fact that Bouchard tried to equal Jonathan’s blows, the latter proved to be too much for Bouchard to handle.
2.) Bob Probert vs. Craig Coxe
You cannot have a “top hockey fights” article without a mention of Bob Probert, you just can’t. There have been a bunch of heavyweight tilts in the NHL, but Probert and Coxe certainly went blow for blow in this one, and neither seemed to want to call it quits early.
1.) Graham Dearle vs. Fraser Filipic
No, this wasn’t an NHL fight, but I felt that it certainly had its merits. Graham Dearle certainly wanted a go as he eagerly awaited his match-up with Filipic, but the end result probably didn’t occur in a way that Dearle ideally envisioned. Even though Filipic KO’d Dearle, the latter skater took his beating on the chin (both literally and figuratively) and still managed to skate away with his pride.