19 Players Ejected After Bench-Clearing Brawl During SPHL Game (Video)
When it comes to bench-clearing brawls, this one is hard to beat. What started off as a few scuffles, turned into a line brawl, and eventually into a full out free-for-all inside, and around, one team’s bench. Just another Saturday night of Southern Professional Hockey League action. Why couldn’t I have been at this game, rather than a much pricier Toronto Maple Leaf game?
In a regular season finale between the Fayetteville FireAntz and the Knoxville Icebears, things got chippy at the end of the second period, and the end result would be an all-out 6-minute brawl with a total of 19 ejections, and an eventual forfeit from one of the teams.
So here is how the story goes…
The game featured two of the leagues top scorers in Fayetteville’s Robert Sich and Knoxville’s Kevin Swider (the two were fighting for the SPHL scoring title; this becomes relevant). Late in the second period, the Ice Bears began to take liberties on Sich. It continued until the end of the period, when he was either pulled, or jumped into, the Knoxville bench (0:45 second mark, you be the judge). FireAntz coach Tommy Stewart at that point had no choice but to send his troops out onto the ice to defend his star player, and that is exactly what they did.
“They pulled Robbie into their bench and started wailing on him,” Stewart said. “We really didn’t have any choice. We sent all our players to go protect him, and they ended up kicking out 10 guys and me.
“It’s unfortunate because it was a good hockey game over halfway through, then things started getting chippy. They started taking liberties on Sich and we can’t jeopardize not having him for the playoffs.” [Puck Daddy]
After sorting things out, the FireAntz wouls have 10 players and their coach ejected, while the Ice Bears had nine. Two more Fayetteville players would receive game misconduct penalties less than a minute into the third, and with nothing left to play for, they would intentionally get three delay of game penalties, forfeiting the game with only two players left to play on the ice.
What makes this whole ordeal even more bizarre is the fact that these two teams will be squaring off against one another in the first round of the SPHL playoffs, which begins this Friday. And as for the scoring title, Swinder, who was not ejected from the game, would eventually beat out Sich, who was ejected for his involvement in the melee.
Here is a look at what transpired. Friday should be interesting, to say the least.
Hat Tip – [Puck Daddy]