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Gallery II- He's no Goon, That's our Enforcer!

Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Fighting is never going to leave North American hockey, it is an integral although increasingly small part of the game . Fights are what brings the crowd to its feet, the fans in the door and separates the men from the boys. Well, that's the surface of the story, the reality is the role of fighting and the enforcer is much deeper than that. The occasional dance may start spontaneously. More often though they are a calculated release of tension for the team. The message to let the other team know that they can't mess with a goalie, a beloved 5'8" captain, or our we will take care of you. Time was when every team had an enforcer. A big guy who stood for every line change casting a long shadow across the ice protecting the little guys, allowing the skill players the "space' they need on the ice to dazzle.

Many of the photos in this gallery are of classic fights, great enforcers and pugilists of the American Hockey League. They are highly skilled athletes doing what they do best. It takes an amazing amount of strength to box on blades and still make contact.  Approve or disapprove of fighting in hockey, you have to admire the courage and training it takes to make an enforcer.



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