There are many ways to enjoy a hockey game.

Some go with their significant other for a nice night on the town. Nothing says romance quite like dangles and fisticuffs.

Others may take the whole family, giving both son and daughter an education in Canadian culture. And others go for a night with the boys, a time when the only thing that flows easier than the beer are tales of hookup failures and crude jokes.

Yes, hockey truly is a game for all walks of life. Even those who enjoy a good public pummelling, or at the very least a humiliation that lasts a lifetime.

Rick Rypien’s momentary loss of sanity Tuesday night is actually quite tame when we look back on the highlight reel of players’ fists coming into contact with faces of fans. Some of these  fans–like the still nameless Wild fan who was grabbed by Rypien–were innocent and unsuspecting. But most provoked their legendary bouts at least partially, and some just need to re-think their entrance to the playing surface.

The list is brief, but the fans in them are now immortalized. They’re characters plucked from some far-flung galaxy where challenging Tie Domi seems like a good idea.

Memorable moments in fan interaction

You stay classy, Philadelphia

Philadelphia has always been known as the arm pit of sports fandom. This is a town that slashes the tires on vehicles of journalists who cover the opposing team, and cheers the opposition’s star player when he’s leaving on a stretcher.

It’s a place where intentionally puking on a little girl is part of a young man’s thought process, and babies drink Budweiser freely.

It’s a place where Santa Clause is booed too, so you can just imagine the treatment Tie Domi gets. In fairness, Domi did provoke the Flyers fan who jumped into the penalty box when he squirted the crowd with a water bottle. So it’s hard to blame him for being upset.

But there’s no justification for wanting a piece of one of the most feared fighters in the game. This didn’t end well.

Rob Ray’s idea of force

If you count them, this fan stood in there for at least 15 full-fledged haymakers from Rob Ray. That sounds impossible, but as stupid as this poor Quebecer may be, you at least have to give him credit for accomplishing the unthinkable.

What’s maybe more impressive than the fight is Ray’s account of the events afterward, when he says the team “decided to use some force.” If this is Ray’s idea of force, I’d hate to be a kid being pushed on the swing set with him as the muscle.

Who hits someone with a shoe? Honestly!

Line brawls were a staple of hockey in the days of the Broadstreet Bullies, and those big bad Bruins with Terry O’Reilly and Mike Milbury. On the night of Dec.23, 1979, the Bruins and Rangers were engaged in skirmish at the corner of the rink that fizzled momentarily.

All it took was one swat from a fan reaching over the glass, and the fight moved from the ice to the stands. The now iconic scene occurs at about the 00:30 mark of the video below, when O’Reilly beats a fan with his own shoe.

Now that’s old time hockey.

Karma sucks

You can have your beat downs, and fans running like out of control four year olds onto the rink. I’ll take a far more unique moment.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been to one too many sporting events where that loudmouth jerk who’s wobbly after two beers doesn’t shut up. But I love seeing that rare time when tough guys with little man syndrome are put in their place.

This improbable turn of events between Steve Sullivan and a suit in the front row is one of those times.

You don’t hit Stevie Y

Steve Yzerman isn’t just a hockey player in Canada. He’s an institution.

As a player, you respect him, and as a fan, you bow down to his presence. Anyone who pioneered a gold medal in men’s hockey on Canadian soil is given hero status, and Yzerman is revered not only for his legacy as a gritty forward, but also for his leadership qualities as an executive.

So even though this happened years ago, it’s death sentence-worthy for a fan to hit Stevie Y.

Streaking doesn’t work on ice

I couldn’t find a video of this, but it’s a moment that’s captured better by the still frame anyway.

The first and last occurance of streaking in hockey happened in 2002 during at game between the Flames and Bruins in Calgary. As a photographer with very little talent, I think the photo itself is award-winning work. It’s remarkable that the streaker is captured at the precise moment when his stick and pucks are hidden by the glass supports.

What happened next us utterly predictable. The moment this poor, misguided soul set foot on the ice he slipped, hit his head, and was carted off on a stretcher after needing the attention of the arena’s medical team.

I believe this calls for a slow clap.

Comments (1)

  1. [...] of calm and balance is required.HeadlinesThe grim RyperIt wasn’t quite Terry O’Reilly beating a fan with his own shoe, but Rick Rypien’s shoving match in Minnesota with a fan who did something every fan does [...]

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