This season, enforcers have dropped their gloves in ice rinks up and down the country all in the aid of some “gentlemanly fisticuffs.”
While not part of the game, Ice Hockey and fighting is a way of settling arguments without the intervention of the referee. Tensions are released while the players are given five minutes in the penalty box as a slap on the wrist as the match continues as if the amateur pugilism never occurred.
With that in mind, here are my top fighters in the Elite League’s 2015/16 campaign.
Cam Janssen is an elite level enforcer, so much so that the 32-year-old spent nine years in the NHL throwing punches with the best of them. In his first campaign with the playoff winning Nottingham Panthers, he finished second in toe-to-toes and appeared in some of the bloodiest and most entertaining of them.
To prove that the right winger is not one to be messed, you can ask Tyson Marsh of the Cardiff Devils who was knocked out by a haymaker.
With a win percentage of 58% in 12 contests, he ranks only second to the big cheese of the British game, Zack Fitzgerald. Janssen’s compatriot had 15 fights in 52 outings. In comparison, the Dundee Stars squad had 14 bouts. He is the reason that the Sheffield Steelers topped the win percentage in dust-ups.
Fitzgerald won nine of his battles and picked up the other knockout seen this season. For me, the defenseman appeared in more entertaining ding-dongs and showed the heart that drove for the Steelers to the league title. It also left the others to focus on their craft, safe in the knowledge that the Michigan born battler will back them up when needed.
This is why when picking between the two “Goons,” I think he is the best in the league.
Luckily for us the spectator we have seen these behemoths face off on numerous occasions, including a couple in back-to-back nights. The tale of the tape is pretty even. Zack has a couple of inches on Cam, as he stands at 6ft 2in, but is outweighed by a single pound as both would be classed as heavyweights if they decided to turn their talents to Boxing. These face-offs between the tough guys were too close to call.
My favourite brawl featured in a match with two fired up sides as three fights broke out. Cardiff Devils’ Andrew Lord, who would have picked a fight with every member of the Coventry Blaze if he was allowed to.
It was not only the players that night who enjoyed a physical conversation. The fans took part in an aggressive tete-a-tete which evaded the cameras.
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