Fighting in hockey dates all the way back to 19th century Canada, where the lack of rules encouraged players to beat the ever-living crap out of one another. How something so awesome could have come from Canada is anyone's guess.
Ever since ice was invented by scientists in 60,000 BC, people have been fighting on it. Fast forward a few thousand years to Canada, and people have made a sport of it, well, close enough. Fighting in ice hockey has been an important part of the game since it's creation in the 19th century. In 1922, the NHL created a rule that would give players engaged in fights (or "fisticuffs" as stated in the official NHL handbook) a five-minute major penalty instead of being ejected from the game.
Between the 1920's and 1960's, hockey fights were much more brutal than today, often clearing out entire benches. Recent rules, however, have changed hockey fighting in certain ways, making it less dangerous as well as more uncommon. Some critics believe that the NHL should go back to the way things were. We at Cracked agree whole-heartedly.
The NHL gives some strict guidlines on fighting during a game. Anyone involved in a fight is given a 5 minute penalty, and a failure to adhere to to the rules may result in their ejection from the game, and a standing ovation from their home arena.
Here are a few notable rules:
There are also some important terms regarding fighting:
According to the Offical NHL Handbook...
"47.2 Aggressor - The agressor in an altercation shall be the player (or goalkeeper) who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant... a player (or goalkeeper) must be deemed the agressor when he has clearly won the fight but he continues to inflict punishment and/or injury on his opponent who is no longer in a position to defend himself.
Nottingham Panthers Vs. Sheffield Steelers - 2001
A great bench clearing brawl in the British Superleague.
Sabres VS Senators - 2007
Ottawa right-winger, Chris Neil, hit the Buffalo captain, Chris Drury, causing Drury to hit the ice and start bleeding profusely from his forehead. A brawl erupted shortly after involving all players on the ice. Even the coaches almost got into it.
Patrick Roy vs Mike Vernon
One awesome goalie battle.