With hockey being one of the only sports in which fighting is tolerated, the 10 best NHL hockey fights of all time include bench-clearing brawls, goal-tenders getting in on the action and some of the shortest and longest fights ever. The fights, however, are not limited to just the players on the ice, as many times hockey fans have joined in, taking on their most-loved, or most-hated, NHL players.
Jesse Boulerice vs. Aaron Downey, February 11, 2003. While perhaps one of the shortest NHL fights of all time, the one-punch knockout makes this fight one of the most notable. A big left hook from Aaron Downey sent Jesse Boulerice down to the ice knocked out. Boulerice suffered a concussion and broken jaw, spending the night in the hospital.
- Quebec Nordiques vs. Montreal Canadiens, April 20, 1984. Remembered as the "Good Friday Massacre," teams were involved in a large brawl in the second period of the playoff game, prompting referee Bruce Hood to end the period early. Tacking the time onto the third period, another large fight broke out, ending the career of player Jean Hamel and leading to Hood's retirement from the NHL.
- Tie Domi vs. Bob Probert, February 9, 1992. The two heavyweights of the NHL during the 1990s, Tie Domi and Bob Probert fought several times throughout the decade. Perhaps their best NHL fight came in 1992, when after an extended brawl, the young Domi motioned that he was wearing a heavyweight belt, having stolen the title from Probert in the scrum.
- Philadelphia Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators, March 5, 2004. With under two minutes left to play in the game and the Flyers leading five to two, Donald Brashear and Rob Ray started the scrum, dropping the gloves at center ice. Both benches cleared and numerous fights followed as 419 combined penalty minutes were handed out, an NHL record.
- Marty McSorley vs. Bob Probert, February 4, 1994. In one of the longest fights in modern times, the two grinders dueled it out for nearly 100 seconds before being broken up by the officials. The heated exchange was close, but in the end Probert took the fight, sending McSorley away with a large gash over his eye.
- Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche, March 26, 1997. Known as the "Brawl in Hockeytown," the rivals settled old scores, including an outstanding mark on Claude Lemieux for a controversial hit one year earlier. Nine separate fights broke out, including between Lemieux and Darren McCarty, and goal-tenders Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon.
- Tie Domi vs. a Philadelphia Flyers fan, March 29, 2001. While most NHL fights typically occur on the ice, this incident pitted brawler Tie Domi against an unruly Philadelphia Flyers fan. After exchanging pleasantries with the fan from the penalty box, the fan toppled the glass, landing in the box with Domi. A few punches were exchanged, leading to the fan's ejection from the arena and a costly fine from the league to Domi.
- Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs. Calgary Flames, December 8, 2001. Following up from their last heated contest, Craig Berube began the brawl with a punch to goal-tender Jean-Sebastien Giguere late in the game. Kevin Sawyer retaliated, fighting with Mike Vernon. Both benches cleared, accounting for nineteen fighting majors and a total of 309 penalty minutes.
- Felix Potvin vs. Ron Hextall, November 10, 1996. Joining in on a large brawl between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers, the two goal-tenders traded punches after the final whistle. Described as the best fight of the year by the commentators, the netminder scuffle is easily one of the best NHL fights of all time.
- Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers fans, December 23, 1979. Immediately after a game between the Original Six rivals at Madison Square Garden, unruly Rangers fans clashed with Bruins players. Several Boston skaters entered the stands to fight with the fans, leading to suspensions as well as taller glass to be installed at the arena.