Fighting's hockey roots go way back

RICHARD KAMCHEN, For QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:54 PM ET

It shouldn't be too surprising to discover Donald Brashear isn't the first LNAH alumni to make his way to the fighting cage.

The league is far better known for its fisticuffs than its stylish play, as evidenced in the documentary film, The Chiefs, which follows a team not at all unlike the Charlestown Chiefs of Slap Shot infamy. The league is so fight filled, in fact, that even retired NHL bad boy Jimmy Mann finds it repugnant.

"Goons are in a league we have, this Quebec league here," started Mann, who incidentally detests the term 'goon' in almost every instance. "Guys that can't hardly skate, and all they want to do is fight every game."

LNAH grads who've made the switch to fighting barefoot instead of on skates include Steve "The Boss" Bossé, Jon "Nasty" Mirasty, Yan "Wild Thing "Pellerin, Jacques Dubé, and Martin Trempe, who was initially picked to be Brashear's first opponent.

Jeremy Yablonski has the distinction of being an ECHL tough guy who tested Brashear during a brief call up to the NHL and who also has an MMA fight under his belt.

Of the above, The Boss has easily had the most success with an 8-1 record in 10 fights (one ended in a no contest).

A number of enforcers have used martial arts to improve their on-ice fighting skills as well.

Dave Hanson, best known as one of the Hanson Brothers in Slap Shot, knew his way around a karate dojo; notable heavies Stu Grimson and Tony Twist had kick-boxing training; Todd Fedoruk, formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers, earned a black-belt in karate; and his replacement Riley Cote practiced Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

And before MMA was king, hockey players tried their hand at boxing.

Most famously, Edmonton Oilers' heavyweight Dave Semenko faced Muhammad Ali in an exhibition bout.

There were a couple notable near misses too: legendary Montreal Canadiens policeman John Ferguson's desire to duke it out with Canadian Heavyweight Champion George Chuvalo was nixed by his boss Sam Pollock; and in 1997, Marty McSorley challenged Butterbean to a boxing match, and although the latter accepted, the fight never came to fruition.


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