Protect, Defend, BRAWL!
~by Amy Lignor
A great many sports reporters, when asked about the best moments in hockey, will mark 2002 as having one of the best ‘brawls’ of all time. Everyone still remembers the U.S. flag at the Olympics, of course, but the brawls seem to be much more fun to watch for current fans.
In 2002, it was a toe-to-toe fight between the ultimate fan favorite – P.J. Stock and Stephen Peat. P.J. was loved by Boston and fans stood up higher and longer for the brawl than they did for any goals made in the entire season.
Now there is another interesting brawl to make all these lists of ‘the greatest moments on ice’, and it occurred with no million-dollar stars; no stunning trophy waiting at the end of the season – nothing. This brawl is all about officers of the law going toe-to-toe with the firefighters of New York City.
Yes, this was a charity event. And, yes, there are many who are angry about the show of machismo instead of the show that should have been made by highly honored and respected N.Y.C. protectors. After all, these are the men and women who do hard and diligent work every day. BUT, what most should remember is – charity or no charity – hockey without a brawl is basically just a mundane game where men dress up as the Michelin Tire guy, skate back and forth…and back and forth…and back and – well, you get the point. In other words, without a brawl, hockey is basically a great place to catch up on emails and text friends.
Yesterday, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial coliseum, hockey persons from both the N.Y.P.D. and the F.D.N.Y. were able to release energy and bring money to charity at the same time. The brawl that actually cleared the benches, postponing the game for just a bit, had fans of each ‘career choice’ screaming, yelling, and getting involved. Now, there was also ‘booing’ coming from the stands, and “Dun-kin’ Do-nuts!” chanting, but the show was funny, if you think about it. And everything from Yahoo to YouTube is offering the highlights of the sudden duel.
The game was dead even at 3-3 when the finest of New York began throwing punches. The camaraderie that was shown, by the way, was incredible. You will never have to worry about whether or not the police will back up their buddies, or whether the fire fighters will ever leave their brothers and sisters in a sticky situation. In other words, these are two groups of people who have respect for their friends and their institutions – even though something may have thrown a monkey wrench into their respect for each other for just a minute.
The police did not arrest anyone, although this is a form of a crime, and fire fighters did not light anything, bringing their anger back under control before it became a blazing inferno.
The police won the game; the fire department hockey team promised fans a ‘battle’ on the ice, only. And when all was said and done – that was one GREAT hockey game!
So lighten up guys and gals – this was not a charity kite-flying event.