MHN Featured Writer: Krintz Douglas
As we all look forward to see who makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s time to look back at someone who never made it to a Stanley Cup Final, but did manage to make his way into the collective memories of hockey fans who “know the game”. Even if you don’t know the game, we should all know about Sasha Lakovic.
It was the “Battle Of Alberta” – No, that’s not a long forgotten event of the French War, it’s when Lakovic gained widespread attention. The date was November 23, 1996… Sasha, when playing in his first and only Battle of Alberta game between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, became a legend. It was late in the game when, in the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, a drunken fan reached over the glass, dumping his drink on the head of Flames assistant coach Guy Lapointe. Lakovic immediately jumped over the glass attempting to get at the fan. Luckily for the fan, Sasha was held back from getting over by his teammates, Lakovic was suspended two games for the incident. Rumor had it he was given a cash bonus by The Flames, but I don’t trust the *source on that one. (*Some Drunk guy from Philly).
Here’s video of that classic incident:
The way he acted that day is how many of us felt we would have acted if someone “attacked” one of our own. “You throw a beer, I’ll throw a five!” (Yes, I could have said “fist”, but throwing a five makes me sound much cooler.)
Nicknamed the “Pit Bull” Lakovic only played 37 games in the NHL, but was a hockey player all his life, playing in many leagues for many teams – 17 professional teams to be exact. He also played for four roller hockey teams in the mid 90’s. Sasha even got himself a role in the 2004 movie “Miracle” where he played Russian star Boris Mikhailov. He had dreams of being an actor, but when it’s all said and done, Lakovic was the very definition of an “enforcer”, and he cherished that role, racking up 397 minutes in penalties in his first pro season.
You won’t see Sasha Lakovic’s jersey retired in any NHL arenas, and you won’t see him in any NHL record books, but he’s part of the fabric that makes the NHL what it is. Sasha died on April 25th, 2017 from complications due to brain cancer. The man is gone, but his legend will never die. So here’s a shout out to Sasha… which actually should be a “bark out”. I’ll leave that one to you all to look up. It will make you love Sasha Lakovic even more than you already should.
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