Hockey fights in general take a pretty significant amount of testicles. You’re in the middle of an arena that is filled with thousands and thousands of people watching you as you bring the game to a halt, drop your gloves and try to beat the shit out of a dude while standing on 1/8″ wide blades of steel on a sheet of ice. You have all these people watching you and at any given moment, you could get fucking worked. You know that feeling when you’re walking down the street and you accidentally stumble over a raised piece of sidewalk and you’re all embarrassed hoping that nobody saw you? Well now imagine a few thousand people watching you get your face pummeled with fist after fist after fist. It takes balls to go out there and do what these guys do. But to do it during the preseason when none of it really matters? Well that’s the purest form of grit right there.
Most of the guys who are fighting in the preseason don’t have an NHL roster spot locked up yet. Take this fight from last night’s Calgary vs Edmonton game for example. For the Flames we have Scott Sabourin. He’s on a PTO right now and has spent the past 5 seasons in the NHL. He’s still looking for his first NHL regular season game. And then for Edmonton we have Evan Polei. A few years younger than Sabourin but also still looking for that first career NHL game. Last year he split time between the AHL and the ECHL. Before that he spent a bunch of years in the WHL. The reason I’m giving a quick little rundown on their careers here is because guys who fight in preseason are quite literally and figuratively fighting for a chance in the National Hockey League. These dudes are fighting for a job. Scott Sabourin knows that he’s not Johnny Gaudreau and he’s not going to earn a roster spot with his puck skills. Evan Polei knows he’s not Connor McDavid and he’s not going to earn a roster spot by being a top 3 hockey player in the world. That doesn’t mean their dream of making it to the NHL is changing at all. It just means they probably have to change the way they get there. And for some guys, chuckin’ knucks is the best way to get noticed and earn yourself a call up.
And it’s not like one fight in the preseason is going to get you a spot on an NHL roster and then that’s it. Even if that one fight does get you a few games, that probably means you’re getting called up to do it all again. Fighting for a job and that job is to fight. Enforcers, man. They’re a different breed. I just wish everybody else would appreciate that instead of having a bunch of goddamn nerds trying to take their jobs out of the game.