Fighting in hockey is currently at its lowest point since the late 1960s, with a fight occurring in only 38% of games this season. In spite of the low frequency of fighting in today’s game, it remains one of the most exciting events that can take place in the sport. Of the 380 fights that have taken place so far this season, there has only been one by knockout victory. This rare occurrence used to occur more frequently, but with the widespread use of visors and improvement to helmet technology, it has become an increasingly rare event.
Knockout power is something that only a few enforcers in the game possess, but when it is utilized properly, it can change the tide of a fight and swing momentum in favor of their team. Some of the greatest hockey fights in history have ended with a decisive knockout victory and in these bouts some of the game’s greatest enforcers have fallen to the ice. When a perfect punch connects it is a beautiful, yet violent act that can leave an opponent unconscious. These punches can have devastating effects on the men on the receiving end and have changed the course of careers.
When grown men fall to the ice unconscious, it can be scary. The Code kept among NHL enforcers and the quick action of referees usually limit the amount of damage suffered after a decisive knockout has been scored. Despite the risk of injury and the potential long term effects on a player’s health, fighting will continue to play a vital role in hockey. Here are the individuals that have dealt and received the most devastating punches in history.
20 Rob Ray vs. Dennis Bonvie
19 Deryk Engelland vs. Colton Orr
18 Arron Asham vs. Jay Beagle
17 Wade Belak vs. Donald Brashear
16 Ed Jovanovski vs. Adam Deadmarsh
15 Dan Carcillo vs. Krys Barch
14 Colton Orr vs. Todd Fedoryk
13 Matt Johnson vs. Andrew Peters
12 Aaron Downey vs. Jesse Boulerice
11 Joey Kocur vs. Jim Kyte
10 Rob Ray vs. Jim Kyte
9 Tony Twist vs. Mike Peluso
8 Paul Laus vs. Craig Berube
7 Joey Kocur vs. Mike Eagles
6 Todd Ewen vs. Bob Probert
5 Tie Domi vs. Steve Smith
4 Evander Kane vs. Matt Cooke
3 Brent Johnson vs. Rick DiPietro
2 Ryan Vandenbussche vs. Nick Kyprios
1 Stu Grimson vs. Reid Simpson
Stu Grimson showed how he earned the nickname the “Grim Reaper” during his brief fracas with Reid Simpson in 2000. Grimson enticed Simpson to fight, but the Blues enforcer should never have answered the call. The two dropped the gloves at center ice the crowd rose to their feet, only to see Grimson deliver two overhand rights that instantly dropped Simpson to the ice. Grimson’s knockout victory was the exclamation point on a victory for the Los Angeles Kings and he skated off the ice for a shower one minute early.
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