blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Today in NHL History - World Junior Brawl

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Today in NHL History - World Junior Brawl

On January 4th in 1987, a bench-clearing brawl erupted during the final game of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Piestany, Czechoslovakia between arch rivals Canada and the USSR.

With Canada contending for a medal (bronze for a loss, silver for a win, gold for a win by five goals) and the USSR playing for pride, tempers flared at the match's midpoint with Canada leading 4-2.

The on-ice combatants were soon joined by both benches, save Canada's Jimmy Waite and Pierre Turgeon, when Soviet skater Evgeny Davydov jumped the boards to enter the fray. Unable to harness the havoc, referees left the ice and turned off the lights on the twenty minute melee to the chorus of disgusted fans in attendance shouting "we want hockey".

An emergency meeting of the IIHF resulted in the suspension of the game and expulsion of both teams. Officials then ordered team Canada to exit the arena, furnishing them with an armed escort out of the country.

Much controversy surrounded the affair with some accusing the USSR of instigating the fight to prevent Canada from winning a medal.

Of the forty roster members in the Punch Up In Piestany, twenty-six (Canada 19, USSR 7) went on to play in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.