Owners of professional ice hockey clubs know that a certain proportion of fans go to the matches solely to see the “ice battle”. And if there is demand, then there will be supply, therefore, the team has players whose role sounds unusual - "tough guy". This is the name of a hockey player, whose main task is not to attack other people's gates, and not to defend his own, but to have strong fists and readiness to engage in hand-to-hand combat at any time.
The tough guys have several tasks: making the match more spectacular, intimidating the opponent's players and protecting their partners - high-class players who do not have hand-to-hand combat skills.
The first hockey fighters appeared, naturally, in Canada, the homeland of hockey. It was here in 1905 that the first death of a hockey player on the ice was recorded. In the province of Ontario, the teams "Maxwell" and "Alexandria" met. Maxwell's Allan Loney knocked out Olsie Lauren of Alexandria with direct punches to the jaw, who collapsed onto the ice and died shortly thereafter.
Some of the records of Dave Schultz, nicknamed "The Sledgehammer", have not been broken to this day, despite the fact that he left the ice arena forty years ago. True, these records are peculiar. Hockey statisticians estimate that Dave spent about four thousand minutes on the penalty box - that's 66 complete games. And in 1975 he set an "eternal" NHL record, gaining 472 penalty minutes in just one season. After finishing his sports career, Schultz turned into a modest man and even wrote a cookbook.
On December 19, 2008, two legendary fighters, Jeremy Jablonski and John Mirasti, met in an AHL (American Hockey League) match. The fight lasted for several minutes, during which time the rivals inflicted more than a hundred blows to each other. Interestingly, in the 2011/2012 season. D. Yablonski played in Russia for the Vityaz club from Podolsk. He never scored a single goal, but he was regularly removed from the site. In his youth, he combined hockey with amateur boxing, where he had 201 fights, scoring 200 victories in them.
Tough guys are found not only among field players, but also among goalkeepers. For example, Canadian Ron Hextall is considered the most aggressive goalkeeper in hockey history. For any reason, he entered into a fight with the opponent's goalkeepers, defenders, forwards and even with the referees serving the match.
During the 1972 USSR-Canada Super Series, the professionals decided to intimidate our players. It didn't work out - in one of the fights, Boris Mikhailov put three opponents on the ice. And Phil Esposito hit Alexander Ragulin in the face with a club, breaking his eyebrow. But he did not dare to join an open battle. Moreover, I tried not to meet with him on the site. Ragulin Canadians respectfully nicknamed "Big Rag".
Don't think tough guys are players with big fists and little intelligence. For example, Grimson Stew, after completing his tough guy career, became a lawyer for one of the firms in Nashville. In addition, he led the Christian Brotherhood of NHL players.
Bobby Farnham, on the other hand, graduated from an elite private school and university with a degree in trade. But, the love of hockey turned out to be stronger - he signed a contract with the NHL club Pittsburgh Penguins, where he became a tough guy.