Hockey fights are perhaps the greatest tool the NHL can utilize to attract new fans. Owners run clubs like a business these days, in part by realizing that a strong fanbase produces a fun atmosphere for tax payers to venture to as well as creating a large revenue.
Realistically, fighting is what keeps hockey interesting to a large American fan population—plus, seeing as how the players enjoy it, why not let them drop the gloves?
If the whole Dwyane-Wade-breaking-Kobe's-nose thing happened in the NHL, best believe there would have been a brawl. Hockey is so physical that something as minimal as snowing the opposing goalie starts fights.
Face it, the only comparison other sports can make to hockey's most violent act is perhaps the days of the ABA—made prevalent to the current generation through movies like Semi-Pro. Other than that, sports fans can only hope Ndamukong Suh decides to throw some bows instead of stepping on your head, or maybe World Peace will finally start swinging again.
However, the only thing more awesome than a good hockey fight is when opposing goalies drop the gloves. Here are the top 20 goalie fights in the history of the NHL.
The fight itself was not that exciting. However, the energy the teams got and the effect it had on the crowd was monumental. Habs-Bruins games are some of the greatest rivalry games in the league today and watching Price and Thomas go was great for the game.
Adam Mair educates the fans on the correct way to land a 10-game suspension by joining in the action off the bench.
Mair takes credit for starting this hilarious slapfest between Potvin and Jani Hurme. Perhaps it was all that fresh air up in the Great White North that calmed Potvin down, as I'm sure he was used to the smog in LA.
Maybe he'll redeem himself...
Both NHL goalies were taking a break from the whole "strike" thing by lacing up the gear in the AHL. In an already heated game by the Loch Monsters and Norfolk Admirals, netminders Cam Ward and Michael "Leight-in-in Goals" Leighton decided to have a go.
Best part? Once the league's lockout ended, Ward and Leighton landed on the same team. Bartender, I'll have a double Jack and Irony please, straight up.
Nothing screams "Good Friday" like leaving church and getting into a hockey brawl. The historic "Good Friday Brawl" occurred during Game 6 of the 1984 playoffs between the Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens.
The first spark happened when Nordiques forward Dale Hunter (only player in NHL history to score 1,000 points and record 3,000 PIMs—cheers) slammed into Montreal goaltender Steve Penney, but the brawling started at the end of the second period when the teams headed back to the locker room.
Playoff hockey brings out the competitive spirit like no other form of the game, and that night the Habs won the series and a total of 250 minutes of penalties were given out.
In a long, arduous battle, Kiprusoff and Vokoun throw blow after blow for about a minute.
Hello, fines and suspensions.
These two clearly have a history judging by the pure energy in the fight. Cloutier clearly had something to prove seeing as how he continued to chirp the Hawks bench and throw punches long after the fight.
Apparently, the narrators disagree.
Ken Wilson was perhaps one of the best voices in hockey history, and one of the only announcers to make an attempt to describe every single fight happening all at one time.
Both are better off tending goal, but Cheveldae landed some great blows and got the players and fans rowdy.
Nurminen and Conklin were doing anything and everything they could to win this fight.
Check out the sweet, manly hair grab at 0:28 to get a feel for what I am talking about.
"Dafoe vs. Kolzig" wins the most hilarious brawl award by far, seeing as how one was the other's best man at his wedding the summer before, according to the announcer.
The new NESN announcer has a true Boston-blood accent that would have been perfect for a brawl like this one!
Many NHL fans are unaware of the Canadian junior hockey leagues and their impressive history. One longtime bookmark in WHL history is the Tupac & Biggie beef between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Enjoy this historic brawl.
Dafoe skated all the way across the rink and grabbed Sens goalie Patrick Lalime, and landed about 10 blows in a row. Nothing helps the confidence of a team like when your goalie gets KO'd in a rowdy atmosphere like Boston.
Though the linesman tried to step between Snow and Shields, the two rambled on and threw as many blows as they could in this all-out pub fight.
The only one not excited about this brawl was the announcer, who was probably Mrs. Donovan's husband.
Although he didn't have much else to talk about, because Hextall dropped Chevrier in about five seconds.
Cloutier's pugnacious nature graces this list yet again. Once he drops Tommy Salo, Cloutier lands about seven to the back of Salo's head, and continues on to challenge the entire Islanders bench.
Dressed to the nines in one of the ugliest hockey uniforms in league history, Isles goalie Tommy Soderstrom got the worse of the bout as you can see at 0:47.
Seriously, though, how can a professional franchise put Gordon's Fish Sticks as their lead logo?
Pop quiz: judging from the video, which goalie took boxing lessons in his lifetime?
Yes, Emery. Smiling the whole time, Ray Emery drops Marty Biron with ease only to continue the fight with Sabres winger Andrew Peters.
It's too bad the coaches didn't drop the gloves too!
Must be tough when you give up three goals, then top it off by getting KO'd with 16 seconds left. Not much of a "fight" per se, seeing as how Pens backup goalie Brent Johnson skated all the way down the ice to bust DiPietro's face in.
The smiling DiPietro lasted about 0.8 seconds before being dropped, receiving facial fractures and missing the next four-to-six weeks of on-ice action.
In the third-best goalie fight in NHL history, Roy and Vernon engage in the all-out war on the ice.
According to Wings tough guy Darren McCarty, "Hockey players have a long memories, and the best time to seek revenge is when your opponent least expects it."
The Avs-Wings rivalry during the 90s was great for the growth of the NHL and the brawl on March 26, 1997 further proves that.
Hextall had no doubt in his mind he was dropping the gloves, and in perhaps the best all-around fight in the game, Potvin and Hextall throw overhand shots back and forth until they just simply lack the energy to move.
Roy and Osgood were some of the best goalies in the 90s, which was the same time the Avs-Wings rivalry was at its best. Roy was more than willing to fight Osgood, and once they finally go, the place exploded. Roy landed some great punches, and for the rivalry this has to top the list.
Long live hockey fights.