I Went To The Fights And A Hockey Game Broke Out (Writer’s Workshop)

I followed hockey for a little while when I was in seventh and eighth grade. Never played it myself, because I can’t skate, and I’ve only been to one NHL game in my life (in 1970, Blackhawks vs. Canadiens). If there’s nothing else on TV besides hockey, and that happens to be where Mary stopped flipping around (she controls the remote in our house about half the time) I’ll watch it. Mary likes to read romance novels about hockey players (*ahem* to all you romance writers) and likes to watch them skate.

Chicago Blackhawks logo, copyright Chicago Blackhawks (source: Amazon.com)

Thinking back on it, I wonder whether I was all that into the game or if I just wanted to see the players get in a fight and beat the crap out of each other. The Hawks had an enforcer named Keith Magnuson who did a better-than-average job of getting in fights. All of them did, to varying degrees, but Magnuson was exceptionally good at it. He managed to rack up 1,442 penalty minutes, many of those for fighting. He played ten years, and managed to spend over two games’ worth of minutes in the penalty box each year.

In the almost-30 years we’ve lived in Atlanta, we’ve had two hockey teams (the IHL Knights and the NHL Thrashers), neither of which is here any more. The Knights played here for four seasons before moving to Quebec, where they were the Quebec Rafales for two seasons before folding. Most notable about the Knights was that that they had Manon Rhéaume, a female goaltender who played 24 games in her seven-year IHL career. The coach of the Knights was Gene Ubriaco, who played for several years with the Blackhawks, mostly as someone who would serve bench penalties. The Thrashers were here from 1999-2011 and are now the Winnipeg Jets (the second incarnation). Before that, Atlanta had the Flames from 1972-1980 before they up and moved to Calgary. Suffice it to say, Atlanta isn’t a hockey town. Wasn’t much of an anything town when we moved here, come to think of it: the Braves, Falcons, and Hawks were all pretty awful when we got here. (The big cheer at Braves games was “Go Braves! And take the Falcons with you!”)

I only follow baseball now, the White Sox and the Braves. There isn’t a whole lot of fighting in baseball, but when it happens about seventy guys end up on the field, with both benches and bullpens clearing. There have been a few doozies, but I’ve only been at one game where a fight blew up. Back in 1968, Bill Melton of the White Sox slid a little too hard into Dick McAuliffe of the Tigers at second base, and McAuliffe, who had a temper problem anyway (in baseball terms, he was a real red-ass), took exception. Both benches and bullpens emptied for that one, but surprisingly, no one got thrown out.

I could go on, but there ain’t enough time…

The prompt was “Write a blog post inspired by the word: fight.” How’d I do?