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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Greatest Hockey Fight Ever - Canada vs Russia Juniors, 1987

Theoren Fleury decks offending Russian, starts bench-clearing brawl

The World Junior Championship (starts Boxing Day, every year!!!) is my fave sports tournament (followed by Summer Olympics, then NCAA March Madness), and you rarely see fights in that tourney of the world's best young hockey players. Back in 1987 things were a little bit different, and this bench clearing international brawl must have been huge fun for the Russians, who were not allowed to fight in games back home.

The undrafted Theoren Fleury started this fight while sticking up for a teammate, and the very next day I wrote the Maple Leafs suggesting they ignore his diminutive size and sign him. About 10 days later he got inked by Calgary and went on to a stellar NHL career, and is now a highly regarded spokesperson for victims of sexual abuse.

Both teams were disqualified from the tournament but it was totally worth it; the subsequent rise of Gorbachev and Yeltsin caused communism to fall just two years later. Coincidence?

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