There’s still no professional hockey to watch in North America, but the minor league teams scattered across the country are soldiering on, providing a few well-placed die-hards with entertainment while the rest of us grumble and bitch about Gary Bettman. One particular recent game in the Southern Professional Hockey League (which exists!) featured a bench-clearing slobberknocker worthy of the NHL, resulting in 129 combined penalty minutes for fighting, throwing equipment AND spearing. Here’s a frame-by-frame breakdown of the brouhaha.
2. It all starts late in the third period of a 3-2 game between the Mississippi Surge (in blue), and the Huntsville Havoc (in white).
3. After the referees let some spearing go unpenalized, the players engage in vigilante justice. No. 44 Corey Fulton is engaged, and pushes a Surge player into the wall…and beyond.
4. Fulton has made a grave tactical error. He’s pushed a Surge player into the Surge bench, and he’s soon surrounded by Surge, presumably getting punched in the face a lot.
5. No Havoc players can come to aid Fulton because the referees are blocking the door. One is actually holding back a Huntsville player. Meanwhile, Fulton seems to have disappeared completely.
6. Eventually the referees fall over and the Havoc can charge in. The crowd is going BONKERS, by the way.
7. Some individual fights spill out onto the ice. Havoc defender Bryant Doerrsam (No. 3) has his man pretty well beat, until a Surge goalie joins the fray.
8. The goalie hugs Doerrsam into submission, and the brawl quickly loses steam. Players look tired, and it’s all coming to a close, save for a few flare-ups here and there.
9. About a minute of awkward standing around and mean-mugging passes, until one rogue Surge player grabs a hockey stick and raises it above his head with intent to stab.
10. Actual commentary: “And a guy got out a stick out! He’s got a stick out! And he’s… hittin’ with a stick!”
Quote courtesy of play-by-play man T.W. Starr.
In the end, referees gave out 129 penalty minutes to nine separate players. Branden Kosolofsky (the jerk with the stick, according to Puck Daddy), personally racked up 29, and landed himself a six-game suspension. In all, six players and one coach have been suspended, and many more were fined (which is probably just as tough a penalty for minor leaguers).