In “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” director Jay Baruchel tells the story of the type of goon that North American Hockey is so notorious for incubating. Yet, these enforcers are more common in the NHL than they are in European hockey. In fact, it’s easier to name a half-dozen NHL goons than it is even one European.
Why are there so many goons in North America and not in Europe?
According to CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel, “When a player picks a fight in a European league, the player in question is tossed from the game, and the opposing team receives a five-minute power play as a result.”
In the NHL, players don’t face the types of consequences the players and teams in Europe face, which is why more goons emerge here than in teams across the pond.
Yet the era of the enforcers may be short-lived, even in the NHL. According to Steve Lapore of Rolling Stone, enforcers will either need to evolve or they’ll face extinction.
Regardless of how you feel about the enforcers, there are a few that have gone down in history as some of the most notorious in the league.
Also known as the “Grim Reaper,” Stu Grimson was notorious for taking out opponents for the Detroit Red Wings. Like most goons, it was Stu’s job to “protect” the more valuable players on the team.
Also known as the “Hammer,” Dave Schultz skated for the Flyers. He was known for one notorious 1974 match where he went after Dale Rolfe, who played for Rangers. He spent 472 minutes in the penalty box for this.
Also known as the “Tiger,” Dave Williams spent more time in the penalty box than any other goon. In fact, if you stitched together all of his penalty minutes, he would have spent more than three days in the box.
Not only was Tony Twist a notorious enforcer, he wrote the forward to the book, “The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation In The NHL.”
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