We've probably all heard the old joke. "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out." Most of the time, if a work has a scene involving the characters playing hockey or attending a hockey game, a fight will break out somewhere along the line. Ice hockey is the most prone to this, as fans of professional hockey can likely attest. Truth in Television
, although most professional leagues do have rules against getting too violent and will hand out punishment if they have to.
Tends to be more of an American trope than Canadian, as many Canadian programs focus more on the beauty, patriotism and romance of the sport, and any violence will be used a a plot point.
Not to be confused with Crowd Hockey
Compare Rugby Is Slaughter
and Football Hooligans
Examples of this trope:
- Inverted in Batman & Robin. You wouldn't expect the dynamic duo, who are associated with fighting, to play an impromptu hockey with a diamond.
- The Tooth Fairy features a hockey player nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy", mostly because anytime he plays, somebody's tooth is going to get knocked out. He gets so brutal, the penalty box has become his home away from home. He ends up getting sentenced to be a real tooth fairy for a week.
- Slap Shot. A down-on-its-luck hockey team hires three brothers that do nothing but prompt Unnecessary Roughness and beat up the opposing team players to help the team win. The final game of the movie is done between the protagonist hockey team and an Opposing Sports Team made of the most brutal players that have ever played (some even banned for life). The ensuing (and quite bloody) riot is only stopped by one of the players deciding to strip-tease right there on the game zone (and that Makes As Much Sense In Context).
- Several Canadian films are based on a true hockey story and feature a notable fight.:
- The Rocket, about legendary Montreal Canadiens player Maurice Richard, has the New York Rangers bring up a minor league tough guy specifically to take out Richard. It fails when Richard delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- An early scene of Networth has Detroit Red Wings' Ted Lindsay and Toronto Maple Leafs' Jimmy Thomson getting into a lengthy and brutal fight on the ice. However, they later team up to fight the real enemy: the NHL's corrupt management. The film's tagline even references this: "The bloodiest fight in the NHL wasn't on the ice."
- Keep Your Head Up: The Don Cherry Story, a biopic of the Hockey Night in Canada commentator, begins with his career as a minor league tough guy. Naturally he gets into many fights, most notably right before meeting his future wife's parents.
- Strange Brew: The inmates at the insane asylum connected to the brewery play hockey games that are directed by musical cues to be all-out brawls, something Bob and Doug have a lot of fun with when they stumble on it. This turns out to be a major plot point as the inmates have been fed beer laced with mind-control drugs.
- Slightly subverted in Canadian Bacon: the fight at the hockey game starts when visiting Americans insult the Canadian beer, which drives both hockey teams into the stands to pummel the Americans.
Live Action TV
- Referenced in Animorphs, where Marco says of Blood Knight Rachel that if they were a hockey team, she'd be the goon, always looking for a fight.
- CSI NY had one in the episode 'Reignited'. The NYPD and FDNY were playing a charity game, and as the game winning play is made, a fight breaks out. One of the instigators is Danny, who's known for his quick temper throughout the series.
- Original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had 'Primum Non Nocere', where a player was found dead after a pileup and fight during an amateur game. However, even though he did have a slash on his throat, it was actually a drug the team doctor intentionally gave him earlier that really killed him.
- A Saturday Night Live Parody Commercial for Buddweiser [sic] stars guest host Robin Williams and cast member Joe Piscopo as rival hockey players; Piscopo gives Williams an uppercut with his stick during the opening puck drop*, and it escalates from there.
- On Bones a murder suspect won't voluntarily give a DNA sample and they can't get a warrant. The suspect is on an amateur hockey team in the same league as Booth's team, so Booth instigates a fight in order to get the suspect's blood.
- Warehouse 13 has an episode in which the team investigates a hockey player who is somehow able to heal instantly from the many, would-be career ending injuries that he has received during games.
- Murdoch Mysteries: Detective Murdoch investigates a murder of a hockey player. Dr Grace concludes that the murder weapon must have been a hockey stick, so the Detective has all the sticks tested if they have blood on them. It turns out they all do.
- Friends: In one Thanksgiving episode, Ross and Joey go to see an ice hockey match. They feel guilty because they promised Monica they would come early for the celebration. They agree to leave the match before it finishes. Only — they will wait for one more goal. Or no, they will wait for one more fight. The match is exciting and after all, they come late to Monica and Chandler's.
- In an episode of Due South a videotape of a hockey game where a fight broke out is an important clue; Fraser & Ray bring it to a friend of Fraser's, who can (somehow) determine which chair someone yelling was sitting in.
- "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)" by Warren Zevon is the ballad of a Canadian hockey player who was best at beating other players up but who would rather score goals if he could.
- Blades of Steel on the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the first hockey video games to feature fighting, and the loser gets sent to the penalty box.
- Another hockey game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, simply dubbed Ice Hockey, likewise could have fights break out. This happens when two characters fight too much for control of the puck. A huge melee breaks out and whoever lost the fight (the winner is the player who pressed the A button more often) gets sent to the penalty box.
- Several episodes of The Simpsons showcase hockey games that devolve into brutal fights (inside the gaming zone) and/or full-on riots (by the audience).
- A fairly memorable fight turned to riot happens on the end sequence of "Lisa on Ice"
- A throw-away gag on a later season is a Mortal Kombat-esque fighting videogame called "Hockey Dads", which features... well, pee-wee hockey player dads beating the crap out of each other (even having a kid player yelling out a plea to his dad to stop since "It's already assault, don't make it murder!". The player can choose to press a button to disregard the kid).
- Played Up to Eleven in the Goofy short Hockey Homicide. For starters, the team captains spend the entire game in the penalty box because they can't stop fighting each other the moment they step onto the ice. The poor referee keeps getting run over by the players, to the point that he resorts to wearing a suit of armor. At the climax all hell breaks loose, the sheer chaos intensified by the use of random Stock Footage from previous cartoons (even a guest appearance by Monstro). By the end the spectators join in on the melee, while the players sit on the stands watching.
- In Animalympics, ice hockey is literally depicted as war, complete with explosions. It also depicts field hockey; it's not as rough, but a referee does get Squashed Flat when body slammed between two players.