Call them goons, call them enforcers, just don’t call them out, or else you might find yourself taking on one of the 10 Best NHL Fighters of All Time.
- Tiger Williams At 5 ft, 11 inches tall and 200 pounds, Tiger Williams is NHL’s #1 goon. In a career spanning 13 years, he sat in the penalty box for 4421 minutes, almost 74 hours, and more than anybody else in history. Six times Williams tallied over 300 PIM's in a season and over 250 PIM's a whopping ten times. That is only counting the times that he was whistled by the officials. He wasn’t above giving a shot or two when nobody was looking.
- Bob Probert The hockey fighting champion of the 1990’s no question. Probert was the other half of the “Bruise Brothers.” He took on all comers, and tangled with #9 Stu Grimson thirteen times. His involvement in 283 NHL fights is the most in the league, and he can claim victory in 210 of them.
- Dave Shultz A key member of the “Broad Street Bullies” of the 1970’s, Shultz’s play got him the name “Hammer.” He holds the single season record for PIM’s with 472 during 1974-75. He also brought about the “Shultz Rule” in which boxing straps were banned after he wore them in several bloody hockey fights.
- Joey Kocur Standing at 6 feet tall, 220 pounds, he was a tag team member of the very infamous “Bruise Brothers”. Possessing perhaps the most potent right hand in NHL history, he has broken orbital bones, noses and at least 10 hockey helmets. He was reputed to have given concussions to players fighting with their helmets on.
- Terry O’Reilly “Bloody” O’Reilly’s career was mostly spent clearing a path for fellow Boston Bruin, Ray Bourque, allowing him to rack up 410 career goals, while 6 ft 1 inch, 200 pound O’Reilly racked up over 2,000 PIM’s. It wasn’t confined to the ice, either. In an infamous 1979 post game brawl, O’Reilly scaled the glass and dove into the crowd. He went running after a fan that tried to hit him with a hockey stick.
- Clark Gillies For a reputed goon, Gillies never spent more than 100 PIM’s in the box during a season, probably because no one dared to drop the gloves on this 6 ft 3 inch, 210 pound monster. Gillies beat Terry O’Reilly to a pulp, along with anyone else that wanted to play rough.
- Gordie Howe Any hockey fan worth his beer knows the skills that Gordie Howe brought to the ice. As well as being talented he could hold his own in any battle. He was notorious for smashing an elbow into the face of a hapless opponent which led to plenty of brawls. He’ll forever be remembered for the “Gordie Howe hat-trick”; a goal, an assist and a fight in one game.
- Tie Domi The fans hated Domi. But giving him his due; he was good at his job. Relatively short for an enforcer at 5'10", 200 lbs., Domi took on the best of his era, and never really came up short. Two seasons he spent the equivalent of 17 periods in the penalty box with over 340 PIM’s, and accumulated a total of over 3,000 PIM’s in his NHL career
- Stu Grimson The 6 foot 6 inch, 240 pound Grimson was given the moniker “Grim Reaper” for good reason; he earned it. In his eight seasons he averaged 150 penalty minutes per season, racking up a totaling of over 2,000 in his NHL career.
- Dave Brown At 6 ft 5 inches tall and 220 pounds, Brown makes the list from sheer bulk. But talent-wise, he was only good for protection and knocking out teeth. In the 1987 season, he received a 15 game suspension, one of the longest in NHL history, for cross checking a New York Ranger in the face.
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