Early hockey in particular was noted for its extreme violence, to the point where two players were killed in three years during brawls.
In both cases, the accused assailants were acquitted, but these and other bloody incidents led to calls for the sport to clean up its act or be banned with the likes of cock fighting.
The worst of the violence waned, particularly with regulations for quasi-legal fisticuffs, though incidents continue to occur from time to time.
Billy Coutu was the first player banned from the NHL for life when, in 1927, he attacked referee Jerry Laflamme in a Stanley Cup game between the Bruins and Senators - in which several players complained about the officiating, supposedly at the request of Bruins coach Art Ross before starting an all-in brawl.
NHL president Frank Calder, the League's first president, expelled Coutu from the NHL for life on March 29th, 1929; the ban was lifted after five years, but Coutu never played again in the NHL.
Billy Coutu - an OG Supreme! (Original Goon)
Other incidents include the December 12th, 1933 event when Eddie Shore hit Leafs player Ace Bailey from behind.
Bailey never played hockey again.
Somewhat recently, controversy and criminal charges have resulted from violent attacks by Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon.
Some of you may think that these guys are or should be in the Goon Squad category, but sorry, this is MY blog, and they are classified as douchetards over here.
Players who are banned in the American Hockey League for violence are not permitted in the ECHL, and vice versa, because of their agreements with the Professional Hockey Players Association.
Incidents resulting in charges
1905 - Allan Loney is charged with manslaughter in the on-ice clubbing death of Alcide Laurin. Loney claimed self-defence, and was found not guilty.
1907 - Ottawa Senators players Harry Smith, Alf Smith and Charles Spittal were charged with assault after beating Montreal Wanderers players, Hod Stuart, Ernie "Moose" Johnson and Cecil Blatchford with their sticks.
1907 - Ottawa Victorias player Charles Masson is charged with manslaughter after Cornwall player Owen McCourt dies of a head wound sustained in a brawl.
Masson is found not guilty on the grounds that there was no way to know which blow had killed McCourt.
1922 - Sprague Cleghorn injured three Ottawa Senators’ players in a brawl, leading Ottawa police to offer to arrest him.
1969 - In a pre-season game held in Ottawa, Ted Green of the Boston Bruins and Wayne Maki of the St.Louis Blues engaged in a violent, stick-swinging brawl.
A fractured skull and brain damage caused Green to miss the entire 1969–1970 NHL season.
Both were acquitted in court.
The NHL suspended Maki for 30 days and Green for 13.
1975 - Dan Maloney of the Detroit Red Wings attacked Brian Glennie of the Toronto Maple Leafs from behind.
Maloney was charged with assault causing bodily harm.
In exchange for a no-contest plea, Maloney did community service work. He also was banned from playing in Toronto for two seasons.
1975 - Police charged Bruins player Dave Forbes with aggravated assault after a fight with Henry Boucha of the Minnesota North Stars.
After a nine-day trial ended with a hung jury, charges against Forbes were dropped.
1976 - Four Philadelphia Flyers players, Joe Watson, Mel Bridgman, Don Saleski and Bob "Hound" Kelly were charged with assault, using their hockey sticks as weapons in a violent playoff game between the Flyers and the Toronto Maple Leafs in which fans had been taunting the Flyers players and spitting at them.
Bridgman was acquitted, but the other three Flyers were found guilty of simple assault.
The Broad Street Bullies finest, and true Legends of the Goon Squad!
1976 - Calgary Cowboys forward Rick Jodzio plead guilty to a charge of assault following a cross-check to the head of Quebec Nordiques player Marc Tardif during the World Hockey Association playoffs.
The hit led to a 20-minute, bench clearing brawl.
1977 - Dave "Tiger" Williams of the Toronto Maple Leafs hit Pittsburgh Penguin Dennis Owchar with his stick.
He was charged with assault, but acquitted.
1982 - Jimmy Mann of the Winnipeg Jets left the bench and hit Pittsburgh Penguin Paul Gardner, breaking Gardner's jaw in two places.
Police charged Mann, who was fined $500 and given a suspended sentence in Winnipeg.
1988 - Dino Ciccarelli hit Leafs defenceman Luke Richardson with his stick. Charged and convicted of assault, he was sentenced to one day in jail and fined $1,000.
Dino also falls into the douchetard category, as well as one of the greatest pests in the game, but I'll save that for another time.
1998 - Jesse Boulerice of the Plymouth Whalers was suspended for the rest of the playoffs after violently swinging his stick at Guelph Storm forward Andrew Lang.
Boulerice was charged with assault as a result of the incident.
2000 - Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins hit Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear in the head with his stick in the waning moments of the game, after losing a fight to Brashear earlier in the game.
McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon and given an 18-month conditional discharge.
2004 - After repeated failed attempts at instigating a fight, Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks sucker-punched Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche from behind, knocking Moore unconscious.
The pair then fell to the ice with Bertuzzi's weight crushing Moore face-first into the ice, followed by several players from both teams further piling onto the mêlée.
Moore sustained three fractured vertebrae, a grade three concussion, vertebral ligament damage, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves, and facial lacerations.
Bertuzzi was charged by police, and given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.
His suspension resulted in a loss of $500,000 in pay and the Canucks were fined $250,000.
Bertuzzi was re-instated in 2005; Moore has not played since and made several unsuccessful attempts at civil litigation.
This case is not over yet, as lawsuits have been filed.
I'll keep you all informed new developements come to light.
BTW, this piece of shit is currently playing for the Wings, and his stats aren't significant enough to even mention.
If there was EVER a player worthy of a life long bannishment from the game, it is him...
Billy Coutu, Boston Bruins, 5 years, 1927, assaulting referee Jerry Laflamme and starting an all-in brawl. (the ban was originally for life, but Coutu never played again in the NHL)
Dan Maloney, Detroit Red Wings, 2 years, November 1975. (Banned from playing in Toronto only)
Alexander Perezhogin, Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), the entire 2004–05 AHL season, slashing Garrett Stafford in the head. (suspension did not carry over to NHL)
Chris Simon, New York Islanders, 30 games, December 2007, kicking Jarkko Ruutu with skate blade.
Chris Simon, New York Islanders, 25 games, March 2007, slashing Ryan Hollweg in the head. (not long enough)
Jesse Boulerice, Philadelphia Flyers, 25 games, cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face, October 10th, 2007.
Marty McSorley, Boston Bruins, 23 games, February 2000, slashing Donald Brashear in the head. (not long enough)
Gordie Dwyer, Tampa Bay Lightning, 23 games, September 2000, abused officials and left the penalty box to engage in a fight. (a True Goon in MY book!)
Dale Hunter, Washington Capitals, 21 games, May 1993, deliberately hitting and injuring Pierre Turgeon.
Steve Downie, Philadelphia Flyers, 20 games, September 28, 2007 illegal hit on Dean McAmmond.
Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver Canucks, 20 games, March 2004 (mentioned above) (NOTE: Because the IIHF honors NHL suspensions, Bertuzzi was also banned from playing in any IIHF member league during the NHL lockout. Bertuzzi was reinstated by NHL commissioner on 8/8/05)
Tom Lysiak, Chicago Blackhawks, 20 games, October 1983, intentionally tripping a linesman. (good man)
Brad May, Phoenix Coyotes, 20 games, November 2000
Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins, 16 games, December 1933
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens, 15 games (3 regular season games plus 12 playoff games), March 1955, knocked out linesman Cliff Thompson during a fight with Boston's Hal Laycoe. (I'll bet you didn't know The Rocket was a Goon!)
Wilf Paiement, Colorado Rockies, 15 games, October 1978, causing a deliberate injury to Dennis Polonich.
Dave Brown, Philadelphia Flyers, 15 games, November 1987
Tony Granato, Los Angeles Kings, 15 games, February 1994
Wayne Maki, St. Louis Blues, 30 days, September 1969
Ted Green, Boston Bruins, 13 games, September 1969
Andre Roy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 13 games, April 2002, abused officials and left the penalty box to try to start a fight with players in the New York Rangers penalty box. (Official Abuse? I think they have that one defined backwards...)
Brantt Myhres, San Jose Sharks, 12 games, February 1999
Matt Johnson, Los Angeles Kings, 12 games, November 1998
Ron Hextall, Philadelphia Flyers, 12 games, May 1989, attacked Chris Chelios. (One crazy bastard, and definitely a Goon in most peoples eyes!)
David Shaw, New York Rangers, 12 games, October 1988, slashed Mario Lemieux in the throat.
Owen Nolan, San Jose Sharks, 11 games, February 2001
Tie Domi, Toronto Maple Leafs, 11 games, Game 4 of the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals, sucker punched Scott Neidermayer. (LOL!)
Jimmy Mann, Winnipeg Jets, 10 games, January 1982
Ruslan Salei, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 10 games, October 1999
Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils, 10 games, March 2000 (Really? Ayear PRIOR to the Domi punch? Interesting...)
You could also blame the entire culture of the game, and it’s blood-and-guts traditions.
Brawling and mauling are constants through the sport’s history.
Those who believe the game is dirtier than before, who long for a lost age of gentlemanly competition, don’t know much about hockey.
Physical, bloody hockey is dear to the hearts of fans and players.
The best games are the ones that begin with a touch of hate in the air, and come perilously close to boiling over.
Everyone loves a genuine rivalry, in which the animosity extends far beyond the professional obligations of the men in uniform.
Everyone loves to see bodies fly (as long as all the hits are "legal," of course).
This also explains why hockey fans like fights.
In most cases, the fight itself is inconsequential, a silly, shirt-tugging dance.
But it can quickly transform into exciting entertainment.
A fight often acts as an ignition switch, stoking the passions of everyone in the building.
The players bear down; the intensity rises; the plot thickens; the game is on!
American television ratings are noted for their lack of support for the Goon Squad.
Most of us don’t even know what a "ratings point" is, but it's the miniscule numbers implied that the target audience for sports is – fat guys sitting on couches in places like Des Moines and Wichita – who do not want hockey. They want hoops, football, NASCAR and bowling.
They might go for Survivor or American Idol, or anything featuring half-naked women. But not hockey.
That is of course until this Goon Squad Original Production made it's way onto the air-waves;
On August 29th, 2005, in a northern B.C. community a controversial hockey fight competition took place.
The Battle of the Hockey Enforcers competition was a sporting event featuring hockey "goons" fighting on ice in a series of one-minute bouts without any hockey being played.
The event consisted of ice hockey enforcers fighting on the ice in full hockey gear, as sometimes seen in regular games.
Like in the National Hockey League, no fighting on the ground was allowed; and the referees separated the fighters if the fight turned too one-sided. If a fight did not end in a referee stoppage, it was judged by a panel of hockey 'experts'.
The event was somewhat successful; the CN Centre was about 1/3 full, with 2000 spectators, but the pay per view sales have been reported to be encouraging. (I couldn't find comfirmed stats on this)
The most famous participant was a former NHL player, Link Gaetz, but he had to withdraw after experiencing concussion-like symptoms after his first fight.
The winner was Dean Mayrand from Windsor, Ontario, who played for the Sorel-Tracy Mission in the Ligue nord-américaine de hockey.
Mayrand defeated Mike Sgroi in the final round, receiving an award of $62,000.
So, there ya have it.
Goon Squad Legends by name, stats and 'accomplishments'.
Next up: Douchetards: Goons or Pests?