If you compare the number of hockey fights today with the number of fights 5 years ago, you will be shocked to see that there are 50% fewer fights in hockey now.
The NHL is trying to eliminate harmful and dangerous fights but still, it is possible to witness some cruel brawls: there are about 350 fights during the league today. The quantity of arguments and fights during the NHL matches is decreasing, so it is hard to imagine games full of cruelty and fights now. But here are the 10 most memorable fights in NHL history.
10. The fight between violent players Dave Schultz and Tiger Williams in 1976
It was obvious that Tiger Williams would get to this list, as he had the highest number of penalty minutes in the NHL: 4421. Tiger participated in 234 fights, always hurting his opponents. The unforgettable situation happened in April 1976 during the match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers. Their players Dave Dunn and Bob Kelly got into a fight so all the referees were thinking about it only. But the main fight happened at that time in the other part of the ice field. Tiger Williams slashed Bobby Clarke, as a result of which Dave Schultz became mad. Dave was also famous for his aggressive way of playing and he was a record holder as the player with the most penalty minutes during one season (472 minutes). Tiger and Dave started a fight and Tiger punched Schultz in the nose which looked painful.
9. The unexpected fight between Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier in 2004
The final of the Stanley Cup in 2004 is really unforgettable, as 2 incredible teams were playing there. Everyone was expecting to see the unbelievable skills of Jerome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier. And they did but these players decided to show some other skills…
Jarome was famous for his fights, so when he started to punch Vincent it was predictable.
But everyone was shocked when Vincent hit Jarome so accurately, even his teammates.
And that changed everything. Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup with an overall 4 – 3 score.
8. The massive fight between the players of Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens in 1984
This famous fight happened between Quebec Nordiques (who are known as Colorado Avalanche) and Montreal Canadiens during the Adams Divisional Final in 1984.
These 2 teams really didn’t like each other, so it wasn’t a shock that 14 battles were happening on the ice field at the end of the 2nd period. Referees were trying to control the situation, for example, John D’Amico felt like he was stopping the fight between Jean Hamel and Louis Sleigher but Louis slapped Jean easily over the referee’s arms. The main referee Bruce Hood delivered 252 penalty minutes in that match and he decided to retire after the season because he felt he was unable to control any fights and that his work was useless.
7. Serious punches from Gordie Howe to Lou Fontinato (1959)
Unfortunately, there is no video evidence of that fight, however, all spectators said that it was impressive. Lou Fontinato was one of the most aggressive players of that time. He was the first one who made a record of getting 200 penalty minutes in one season. Gordie Howe wasn’t a really good player but he was always up to punch someone. So when these 2 players got into the confrontation, people were expecting a bloody fight. But it wasn’t like that because Howe just took Fontinato and punched him several times breaking Lou’s nose and dislocating his jaw. So Fontinato’s boxing skills were absolutely nothing in comparison with the anger and punches of Gordie.
6. The end of Marty McSorely’s career because of Donald Brashear in 2000
Donald Brashear was famous for his fights. During that match Donald decided to prove his fighting skills again, so he hit Marty and then dusted off his hands showing how easy it was to punch Marty, as a result of which he got a 10-minute penalty.
Then Brashear decided to continue punching McSorely, so he injured his knee and was taunting him the whole game. Marty McSorely became mad and he really couldn’t stay calm, so at the end of the match when Donald was looking into the other side, Marty just came and slashed him in the head. Marty was sued for assault and suspended by the NHL. When he came back to the NHL he was old and unwanted by all teams. This is how Marty’s anger destroyed his career.
5. The fight between Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators in 2004
Every NHL fan knows about the tough relationship between Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators, as the Senators defeated the Flyers 2 times in a row in the playoffs. But that game became famous… Philadelphia was leading with a 5 – 2 score and Brashear decided to punch Rob Ray. It’s hard to imagine but it took 1 hour and 30 minutes to calm everyone down and sort out the penalties. The teams finished that match with 13 players only. But it wasn’t the end, as Bobby Clarke came to the restroom with a desire to beat Ottawa’s coach Jacques Martin. However, the referees saw that and saved Martin.
4. The fight between the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and the fans in 1979
That fight happened 2 days before Christmas and definitely wasn’t full of joy and gifts. The match looked pretty calm though, even when Ulf Nilsson hit Alan Secord. But after the final horn, Al ran to Ulf, trying to punch him. A fan of the New York Rangers decided to take part in the fight so he stole a stick to use it in a fight. 18 Boston Bruins players became extremely mad so they came to the stands to beat that fan.
3. The unforgettable fights initiated by Claude Lemieux and revenge from his opponents in 1997
Everyone was waiting for that match between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche but no one was expecting so many fights. Claude Lemieux started everything at the beginning of the series when he decided to punch Slava Kozlov in the jaw. So he continued and made the dirtiest hit in NHL history: he drilled Kris Draper from behind into the boards and hit him. Draper’s nose, cheekbone, and jaw were broken, so Lemieux got a suspension for 2 games. The Colorado Avalanche stopped initiating such fights but Detroit Red Wings wanted revenge. So later, its player Darren McCarty punched Claude Lemieux really hard so that Claude was almost knocked out; then the massive brawl started. Thousands of people still love to watch those moments.
2. The fight between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens initiated by Claude Lemieux in 1987
The uniqueness of that fight is that it happened before the game was started. The Philadelphia Flyers asked the Canadiens not to throw the puck into their net during the warmup period. But Claude decided that it was exactly what he needed to do, as a result of which the massive brawl was started. It really looked like a war scene because almost every player was fighting. And referees couldn’t do anything because the game wasn’t officially started.
1. The aggressive fight between Wendel Clark and Marty McSorely in 1993
It was the Campbell Conference Finals where LA Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs were battling. The toughest moment of the match happened when Marty McSorely made a dirty hit against Doug Gilmour, as a result of which Doug fell immediately with serious pain.
Wendel Clark couldn’t be silent after such an injustice, so he stepped in. Just watch the video to see that crazy fight.