Memorable Hockey Fights

Being one of the big-four American sports, there’s a lengthy list of reasons why people love and celebrate hockey. But let’s be honest here: A big reason for hockey fandom are the on-ice fights that happen so frequently. Like a little bit of boxing mixed in with the ice battle, hockey fights are exciting, enthralling, and always a little on the dangerous side. When you see a hockey player missing teeth, it’s basically a coin flip whether he lost them due to getting hit with a puck, or getting hit with a fist. You just never know when a defensemen is going to check a wing into the glass and, boom, a hockey brawl starts!

Some fans of sports like the NBA complain that while a basketball player cannot even raise his voice without receiving a technical foul and possibly a suspension, an NHL player can brutally beat an opponent and spend a few minutes in the penalty box to cool off. While it might seem unfair, the reality is that fights are part of hockey’s nature; it’s been happening for as long as there’s been a game to play. And with so many fights over the years, some of course stand out more than others. Here are a few of the best and most memorable hockey fights of all time.

1: The Great One vs. Neal Broten

On everyone’s hockey list, Wayne Gretzky is considered the greatest to ever play the game. But what’s just as impressive as his all-time goals, his Stanley Cups and his dedication to the game is the fact that Wayne was only involved in three fights throughout his career. The best?or worst?of the bunch was his fight with Neal Broten. During a game against the Minnesota North, Gretzky and Broten started having words in the first period, and then suddenly Wayne threw his gloves off. Unfortunately, Broten hit him firmly with three right hands, which sent Gretzky to his back. But even though he lost the fight, the great one’s brawl definitely earns placement here.


2: Barch vs. May

Back in 2008, you couldn’t find a rivalry more heated than Krys Barch and Brad May. Every time their teams played one another, you could bet that a fight would break out. Their third fight of the ’08 season ended up being the one worth remembering. When the gloves came off, the fists were flying like a legitimate boxing match. But even in the midst of a mutual beating, Barch warned May to watch out for the glove by his foot, to keep him from tripping and falling to the ice. Not what you’d expect to see with a hockey fight, but certainly a classy moment.


3: Cote vs. Thornton

Rare is the case in hockey that anyone outside of an enforcer can actually fight, so it was surprising to everyone that Riley Cote and Shawn Thornton’s fight ended up looking like Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed. In 2007, the two men faced off during a normal game, but the results were very abnormal for a fight. The men were dealing very serious damage to one another, looking like a fight that you’d have to order on pay-per-view. When the smoke cleared, Thornton was the winner, but Cote gave every bit as good as he got.


4: Carcillo vs. Dorsett

Some fights in hockey are more about guys trying to mark their territory than actually fighting, and this seemed to be the case when Daniel Carcillo faced off against Derek Dorsett in 2008. When the two men went at each other, it was more like a dance recital for a solid minute. They were circling around, they were dancing, they were bobbing and weaving, but they weren’t actually fighting. Then, suddenly, the two men collided, grab the others’ jersey, and the fists started flying. The fight ended up being so impressive and brutal that a winner couldn’t even be declared. They were seriously going at it.


5: McSorely vs. Probert

With a name like McSorely, you half expect the guy to be a sourpuss. This was always the case with Marty McSorley on the ice. He was known as one of those guys that you just don’t cross. And when Bob Probert crossed him, the longest, most brutal fight in the modern era of hockey ensued. The two men were punching each other for more than 90 seconds before an official got in there and attempted to break it up. Most were legitimately surprised that neither man was seriously injured. They were fighting in a no-holds-barred fashion with the strict intent to hurt one another.


There have been thousands of hockey fights out there, so pointing out a few of the most memorable is basically guesswork. If you’re a hockey fan, then you undoubtedly have a fight in mind that wasn’t mentioned on this list. Don’t fret too much, though; there will be many more hockey fights to keep you entertained as you start to build your own list of the most memorable battles.

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