Bench clearing brawls are seldom occurrences in today’s player-driven NHL. However, the recent explosion between Calgary and Detroit truly brought back some old-school memories. After all, who can forget the ice-hockey brawls of yesteryear that had fans on the edges of their seats? From the Nordiques to Flyers, we take a look at some of the top melees that have occurred in and out of the NHL over the years.

Flyers Versus Canadiens – 5/14/87

This classic brawl took place during Game 6 of the 1987 Conference Finals. The Canadiens hosted the Flyers in Montreal in front of a capacity crowd. As part of their pre-game warm-up, the Canadiens loved to send the puck into their opponent’s empty net. However, on this day, Philadelphia told them not to do it. Montreal simply did not listen and it ended up causing a huge brawl before the game even started!

Some of the players involved in the incident were Claude Lemieux, Shane Corson, and Ed Hospodar. In fact, the issue stemmed from these three players. Suffice to say, the referee handed out a large number of penalties that night to several players.

Calgary Cowboys Versus Quebec Nordiques – April 11, 1976

This melee occurred during the WHA playoffs in 1976. The Calgary Cowboys took on the Quebec Nordiques and tensions were high at the start of the game. In fact, Calgary’s Rick Jodzio delivered a brutal cross-check to Marc Tardiff of the Nordiques. The head-check resulted in both benches clearing out and pummeling each other on the ice. It took about twenty minutes for order to be restored – courtesy of the police department.

Sadly, Tardif was unconscious throughout the entire brawl. Jodzio was also arrested, tried and convicted of assault. This is one of the reasons why bench-clearing brawls hardly happen anymore on today’s ice.

Detroit Redwings Versus the St. Louis Blues – April 12, 1991

The Redwings and Blues have shared a heated rivalry for several years. However, this particular brawl took place back in April 1991 between Jim Cummins and Kelly Chase. This fight lasted only a minute – but when Bob Probert of the Redwings started to fight with another player from the Blues, all hell broke loose!

Probert was attacked by several Blues’ players before Red Wings goalie Tim Cheveldae flew in to help. This resulted in a huge brawl that many Redwings and Blues fans still remember today.

These were some classic bench-clearing brawls of yesteryear. We will showcase more melees in the weeks and months ahead. While donnybrooking hardly happens in ice-hockey today, there were times when brawls were far too often a part of the game.

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