Right up his alley

DAVID SCHMEICHEL -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:53 PM ET

Move over, Hansen brothers.

There's a new brawler in town.

A young man from a Manitoba reserve is in Prince George, B.C., today, to take part in a controversial slugfest featuring hockey fights, but no hockey.

Keeseekoowenin First Nation resident Jason Bone, 25, is one of 16 North Americans fighting in the first Battle of the Hockey Enforcers, a heavily hyped pay-per-view event that'll see former and current junior and semi-pro players -- along with a few ex-NHLers -- duking it out on the ice.

"It could turn into a disaster, but it could turn into something good, too," said Bone, who figures he's averaged about 30 fights a year for the past six years. "Either way, it's right up my alley."

Bone, who recently wrapped up a season playing semi-pro in Florida, figures he's fought at least half a dozen of the players he'll be facing off against this Saturday.

To prepare, he's spent the last five weeks following a gruelling regime of skating, boxing, jiu-jitsu and weightlifting, but figures his on-ice experience will carry him through the tournament.

"The difference between martial arts and hockey fights is that hockey fights are spur of the moment," Bone said yesterday, before a last-minute workout at Academy-64 Self-Defence & Fitness in Winnipeg.

DOGGED BY CONTROVERSY

"That and balancing on the ice, that's probably the biggest thing. There's a lot of guys who can fight good in a ring, but get them on the ice and I'd throw them around."

The Battle of the Hockey Enforcers has been dogged by controversy since Brandon-based promoter Darryl Wolski first tried to stage the event in Winnipeg last August.

Winnipeg, and later Minneapolis, rejected his attempts, and even the councillors in Prince George initially voted to veto.

But yesterday, Wolski told The Sun the event is the talk of the town, adding Prince George is crawling with news crews from Fox-TV, TSN, ESPN, and Stuff and Maxim magazines, among others.

"Prince George is abuzz with interest," he said.

The event will put fighters on the ice without sticks but in full uniform, including securely-fastened helmets and jerseys tied down so they can't be pulled over an opponent's head.

Players will fight two at a time for 60 seconds before a panel of five judges, and each will receive a flat fee, although additional cash will be allotted to the winner.

There will be a second Manitoba connection on the card in addition to Bone -- former Portage la Prairie resident John Hewitt is also slated to drop his gloves.

The event will be carried by several pay-per-view cable and satellite outlets across North America.


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