It was only a superstition for child, a habit that Claude Lemieux and Shayne Corson had introduced since the beginning of the season. However, on the evening of 14 may 1987, the idea of launching a puck into the opposition’s net at the end of the warm-up time has transformed the ice of the Forum, in the arena of boxing.
Las to see the two young players in the Canadian to their little game, Ed Hospodar and Glenn Resch decided that they would put an end to it. After an unsuccessful attempt in Philadelphia, two days earlier (they had turned the net in the face of the band), the two players the Flyers have taken major steps.
“They were hidden in the vicinity of their bench. When it is rembarqués on the ice, it was the war, ” says Lemieux on that Hospodar was rushed after Resch had spent nearly beheaded with his stick.
On the button for almost the entire duration of the series due to broken ribs, Dave Poulin had been a witness to the pranks of Lemieux and Corson during the first five matchups of this final of the Association, Prince of Wales.
He knew that the stage appealed to his teammates, but little did he know that it would go this far.
“I would have been suspecting for Hospodar. But never in the case of Resch, supports Poulin, now an analyst with TSN. Chico, it was the voice of reason, the one that calmed usually everyone. In fact, it was like having his father beside oneself. “
Except that, this evening, the reason took the edge. Just as what was left of the reputation of the NHL, when players of both teams, including some half-clothed, are back on the ice to participate in one of the most spectacular fights of general 1980s.
“It was surreal “, refers to Poulin.
On the ice in flip-flops
To return to the game during this match, this last tells us that it is the clamor in the Forum that first attracted the attention of the players. And then, when one of the support staff of the Flyers ran into the locker room to alert everyone, it was pandemonium.
Poulin, then captain of the Flyers, said that his team-mates, most of whom had withdrawn half of their equipment, ran in every direction, trying to determine if they were going to put their epaulets or simply donning their jersey. Mark Howe, future member of the hall of Fame, went there a choice rather unusual.
“He introduced himself with a stick in his hands. When I asked him what he was doing there, he replied that it was an old reflex from the time of the world hockey Association, ” explains Poulin.
“In time, you would not be in a melee general without your stick “, he had replicated the defender.
However, in revisionnant the sequence fifteen minutes, it is always stunning to notice that, not only are some skaters the Flyers are topless, but one of them brings on the ice… flip-flops.
“It was Doug Crossman confirms the winner of the Selke trophy this season 1986-87. He was a peacemaker in the soul. Besides, he was speaking like a hippy : “come on guys ! It happens what, then ?” “
The end of an era
In total, this general dog fight lasted fifteen minutes… without any official on the ice. A scrum at the end of which no punishment has been awarded and only one player, Hospodar, had been expelled (the next day, he will be suspended for the remainder of the series).
Embarrassed by the black eye, the NHL initiated, in the course of the following summer, a series of new regulations in the hope of eliminating this kind of event is embarrassing.
Among these, the regulation 70,1 penalizing any player leaving the bench to engage in combat. At the time, it speaks to a suspension of 10 games and a maximum fine of US $ 10,000. Coaches will also expose a stiff fine if they lose control of their bench.
“I don’t understand why it had not been done after the battle on good Friday against the Nords. It is necessary to believe that against the Flyers, it had crossed the line’, argues Chris Nilan, today host of the show – Off-the-Cuff on the airwaves of TSN 690.
In addition, from this moment, the NHL has limited the number of players that can take part in the warm-up period.
The implementation of these new rules had the desired effect. The brawl between the Canadian and the Flyers has not been the last, but this kind of fair is, therefore, virtually disappeared.
Nevertheless, Poulin doesn’t understand that 33 years later, officials still aren’t on the ice during the warm-up period.
It must be said that hockey, as a society, has evolved. Moreover, Poulin and Nilan imagine evil in such a circus in 2020.
“If this kind of event happened today, the world would be arrested and thrown in jail,” stresses Nilan with a smile.
At the time, the protagonists have been fined by the NHL. A punishment for a ridiculous 500 $ (1000 $ in some cases) for a total of 24 500 $.