Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Brawl with Hamilton Steelhawks 3.9.85

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Sports


The legendary brawl that was the Global TV Game of the Week…

From the Hamilton Spectator:

It apparently took a brutal second period brawl with the Greyhounds in Saturday’s game to unite the Hawks in a common effort.
“In the past five games we were playing close to our potential, but not quite reaching it,” said Millar. “For the game against the Soo we knew we were underdogs, they gave the game to them before it even started.”
“You can say that the brawl was a bad thing, but it really brought us together.”
A total of 164 minutes in penalties – including 14 fighting majors and 10 game misconducts – were handed out during the fracas that started as a five-on-five scuffle, but grew to epic proportions after players from both teams left their respective benches to join the swirling mass of bodies, blood, gloves and sticks.


Play was suspended with 11:23 remaining in the second period as the officials retired to their room to sort out the penalties.
At the time the Greyhounds held a 2-0 margin, but when play resumed after a seemingly endless delay, the Steelhawks collected six consecutive goals to hand the powerful northern squad only its 11th loss of the season.
Corson, with two, Mike Hudson, John Hutchings, Haidy and Ron Bernacci had the Hamilton goals on Saturday.
Jean-Marc MacKenzie and Graeme Bonar scored for the Greyhounds, who expressed displeasure with the donnybrook.
I think it was garbage, said the Greyhounds’ Derek King. That’s not hockey. With the game on TV you’d think they’d want to show the people you want to play.
It started out as a five-on-five. It really doesn’t matter who jumped first, we were both teams and wanted to go at each other and that was that. It went downhill from there. Terry Crisp, the Soo coach, was more terse in his appraisal.
“No comment,” he said. “We’ll just chalk it up as a 6-2 loss on the road. (Hawks’ goalie Chris) Pusey played really well, they got a 6-2 lead and didn’t relinquish it.”
LaForge, who sat out yesterday’s game because of a suspension incurred when the referee ruled that a Hamilton player was the first to leave the bench to join the fight, said the brawl enabled the Steelhawks to relieve the frustration from the slump.
“I’m sure some of the fans didn’t like the melee, and I didn’t either,” he said. “But there are times when you’ve got to stick up for yourselves and your teammates and that was one of them. There was so much frustration and that gave us the chance to air it out.”
With all the bad blood let out, the Hawks settled down to play hockey. And they played some of their finest of the season.
HAWKEY TALK. In addition to LaForge, Jim Bawalda, Mike Ware, Steve Hedington, Joey Stefan, Lyle Jonathan were also five two-game suspensions.

And from the Sault Star:

But now, with apologies to newscaster Paul Harvey, you’re going to hear the rest of the story.
Consider the circumstances.
-it was the Hounds’ third game in as many nights. Friday night in Kitchener, Saturday afternoon in Hamilton and Sunday night back at Memorial Gardens.
-the team didn’t arrive in the Sault until 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
-Saturday’s game, originally scheduled for Thursday but cancelled and switched by the league to accommodate television without the Greyhounds’ approval, featured a nasty bench-clearing brawl initiated by the Steelhawks against the already understaffed Hounds.
-against the Spitfires, who were salivating at the prospect of meeting a physically and emotionally exhausted team, the Hounds had to do without seven regulars – five because of suspensions picked up Saturday, and two because of injuries.
Even with the travel, said Greyhounds’ coach Terry Crisp, the shenanigans down south, the league making us play Saturday, getting home at 3:30, and seven players out of the lineup, we still pulled off a 5-3 win over a club that has given us a hard time all season.
Five Greyhounds – Bob Probert, Brit Peer, Derek King, Steve Hollett and Rob Veccia – and five Steelhawks were ejected and 164 minutes in penalties were handed out after an ugly second-period bench-clearing brawl erupted. Both teams were sent to their respective dressing rooms with 11:23 remaining in the period while referee John Willsie and the two linesmen to sort out the mess. The contest was featured by the Global Television Network as the OHL Game of the Week.
The five Greyhounds missed Sunday night’s game and will also sit out Tuesday’s contest against Kitchener.
The bench-clearing incident started when Hamilton’s Jim Buwalda, a player of dubious skills with 13 points this season and 152 minutes in penalties, jumped onto the ice as first man off the bench to join one of the several altercations that had started.
Willsie’s decision obviously favored the Steelhawks. Probert and Peer were ejected but their opponents, Corson and Brad Dalgarno, didn’t even receive a penalty. Corson bloodied Peer’s nose so much that the Hamilton captain was forced to change jerseys.
The Steelhawks, on the other hand, lost three fringe players – Buwalda, Steve Hedington and Mike Ware – and two Junior B players called up to fill out the roster.

The penalties:
Buwalda Ham, (double minor, major and game misconduct), Ware Ham (double major and game misconduct), Hedington Ham, Jonathan Ham, Stefan Ham (majors and game misconducts), Pusey Ham minor and major, Probert SSM (double major and game misconduct), Veccia SSM, King SSM, Peer SSM, Hollett SSM (majors and game misconducts), Mosey SSM (minor and major), SSM bench penalty for delay of game 8:37

And the fines and suspensions, from the Sault Star:

LaForge out as OHL punishes for brawl

Facing his most difficult decision in his tenure as commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League, Dave Branch handed down his ruling Wednesday on the nasty bench-clearing brawl between Soo Greyhounds and Hamilton Steelhawks last weekend in a no-nonsense manner.
Branch fined the Steelhawks a total of $2,000 and suspended Hamilton coach Bill LaForge for the balance of the season, including the playoffs.
The Greyhounds were fined $1,000 and coach Terry Crisp was suspended for one game, which he served Tuesday when the Hounds blasted Kitchener Rangers 11-3.
Branch also handed out additional suspensions to four of the 10 players originally ejected from the brawl. Hamilton’s Mike Ware was suspended for a total of eight games and backup goalie Peter Richards was suspended for a total of six games for entering the Greyhounds’ bench during the fracas.
The Hounds’ Bob Veccia was given a six-game suspension for kneeing, and Bob Probert was suspended for four games for an unacceptable display of emotion after an altercation.
Veccia and Probert have already served two games of their suspensions.
“The OHL was greatly disturbed by the actions which developed in Hamilton March 9,” Branch said in a prepared statement. “The OHL has displayed a strong leadership role in the past, addressing the issue of unnecessary aggression.”
“We’re committed to providing the necessary environment for a player to develop his skills, free from the aspect of intimidation.”
Branch added that he’d had an extensive telephone discussion Wednesday with Steelhawks’ owner Jack Robillard, but details were not made public.
“I’ve wrestled with this since Saturday,” noted Branch, “and certainly it was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve faced.”
“Mr. McMaster (Hounds GM Sam) was most professional in how he handled the news of the decision. Mr. LaForge, justifiably, was very upset. I’m sure I will have some discussions with Mr. LaForge in the next few days on some points.”
McMaster was satisfied with the commissioner’s decision.
“It had to be one of the most difficult decisions for Mr. Branch,” offered McMaster. “Soo Greyhounds are satisfied with the outcome. With the suspension to Bill LaForge, he’s shown that he doesn’t want activities like this in the future.”
Veccia will miss three playoff games and Probert will sit out Sunday’s game against the London Knights and the Hounds’ first playoff game.
Derek King, Brit Peer and Steve Hollett have served their two-game suspensions and will be back in the lineup Sunday.


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