The most brutal hockey fights in NHL history: a goalkeeper duel and beating of fans in the stands

Fans love the bat­tles on the ice, but many of them end­ed sad­ly for the play­ers.

Many are sure that fights on the ice are an inte­gral part of hock­ey, espe­cial­ly in com­mer­cial club leagues — the NHL and the KHL. The ref­er­ees do not sep­a­rate the play­ers when they take off their gloves and fight, and the stands hap­pi­ly sup­port the fight.

Recent­ly, there have been few­er fights in the NHL, and the orga­niz­ers are try­ing to reduce vio­lence in hock­ey. We remem­bered the most epic and bloody NHL fights that will for­ev­er remain in his­to­ry.

Nick Kypreos — Ryan Vandenbusch

Toron­to Maple Leafs — New York Rangers, Sep­tem­ber 15, 1997

It was a pre­sea­son match: Rangers rook­ie Ryan Van­den­busch want­ed to prove him­self — so much so that he fought with expe­ri­enced tough guy Niko Kypre­os from Toron­to.

At first the forces were equal, but then Van­den­busch pow­er­ful­ly hit his oppo­nent in the jaw and knocked him out.

Van­den­busch was a famous fight­er and, as his part­ners note, a good box­er. The knock­out looked ter­ri­ble: as Kypre­os fell, his hel­met came off and he hit his head on the ice. A huge pool of blood formed under the hock­ey play­er — every­one was afraid that he would die.

Kypreos ended his career after an injury and became an expert

Kypre­os was tak­en to the hos­pi­tal with a severe con­cus­sion. The 32-year-old tough guy’s hock­ey career end­ed after this injury. For­tu­nate­ly, he sur­vived and sub­se­quent­ly worked as a TV pun­dit.

Patrick Roy Chris Osgood

Col­orado Avalanche — Detroit Red Wings, April 1, 1998

The most famous goalie fight in the NHL is the fight between Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood. By the third peri­od, Detroit was up 2–0. A mas­sive skir­mish near the sub­sti­tutes’ bench­es esca­lat­ed into a full-fledged goal­keep­er brawl.

Rua was head and shoul­ders above the Detroit goal­keep­er and more expe­ri­enced in fights. He pulled the sweater over his head, but Osgood quick­ly freed him­self.

Rua land­ed sev­er­al good blows, but in the end lost the ini­tia­tive — he could not stay on his feet and fell on the ice. In total, 46 penal­ties and 228 total penal­ty min­utes were issued in the match.

Tony Twist — Rob Ray

St. Louis Blues — Buf­fa­lo Sabers, Novem­ber 27, 1995

A fight between top NHL tough guys end­ed with dire con­se­quences. Dur­ing the fight, Twist lit­er­al­ly pressed Ray’s eye­ball into the bridge of his nose. Sur­pris­ing­ly, he fin­ished the match and con­sult­ed a doc­tor only after it was over.

“I imme­di­ate­ly real­ized that Tony had done some­thing ter­ri­ble to me. All sounds and sen­sa­tions dis­ap­peared from my head. I con­tin­ued to fight on auto­mat­ic and I don’t remem­ber how I spent five min­utes on the penal­ty box.

After the match, I decid­ed to blow my nose, and the air came out not through my nose, but through a crack in my eye sock­et. The guys froze and watched as the air bub­ble slow­ly moved under my skin: from my eye to my jaw, and then back again,” Ray recalled.

For­tu­nate­ly, the hock­ey play­er recov­ered and returned to the ice — he played in the NHL for anoth­er nine sea­sons.

PJ Stock — Steven Peet

Boston Bru­ins — Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals, Jan­u­ary 5, 2002

This fight was remem­bered for the box­ing skills of the Boston tough guy, who grabbed his oppo­nent and pound­ed him in the face with great speed. How­ev­er, a series of shots from Stock did not both­er Pete at all: he rarely respond­ed, but stood on his skates.

Click and watch

The hock­ey play­ers showed mir­a­cles of resilience and end­ed the fight on their feet. The fight was rem­i­nis­cent of one of the most bru­tal fights in MMA his­to­ry. In 2002, Don Frye and Yoshi­hi­ro Takaya­ma land­ed 93 punch­es to the face in 30 sec­onds. They grabbed each oth­er as if in a hock­ey clinch, and with­out pro­tec­tion they struck at close range.

Click and watch

Mass fight between Boston hockey players and spectators

Boston Bru­ins — New York Rangers, Decem­ber 23, 1979

This is the only fight in the his­to­ry of hock­ey when the play­ers threw their fists at the fans. The insti­ga­tors were the Boston hock­ey play­ers — their for­ward climbed over the glass and walked straight towards the oppos­ing fans in his skates.

The fight was pro­voked by fan John Cap­tain: he helped his favorite team and pulled out the stick of Stan Jonathan from Boston stand­ing next to him. Hav­ing stripped him of his equip­ment, John added a blow direct­ly to the hock­ey play­er’s face.

One of the Rangers fans tried to resist the hock­ey play­er. But the Boston for­ward was joined by team­mates Bob Miller, Al Sec­ord, Craig McTavish, Brad McCrim­mon and Tom Songin. Peter McNab and Mike Mil­bury man­aged to climb the high­est onto the podi­um and beat up anoth­er fan.

The attempts of a lone police­man to stop the hock­ey play­ers looked pathet­ic. Tak­ing to the streets, sev­er­al fans were even­tu­al­ly able to fight back. They began to rock the Boston bus, and the hock­ey play­ers left only with the help of mount­ed police and are­na secu­ri­ty.

If you are inter­est­ed in sports, read our arti­cle about the dirt­i­est acts in the his­to­ry of foot­ball. David Beck­ham, Jose Mour­in­ho and even Roman Shi­rokov are on the black­list!