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, although field hockey occasionally pops up as well. 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 as a plot point.
Not to be confused with Crowd Hockey.
Getting into an individual "hockey fight" regardless of setting is simple:
- Grab your opponent's shirt (they will do the same to you)
- Punch them about the head and face as hard and fast as you can (they will do the same to you)
Examples of this trope:
- In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the, er, Acerian immigrant Antoinette de Badin-Boucher arrives in Ankh-Morpork as a student at the assassins' School, to discover to her disgust that while the weather might get cold and wet, it very rarely gets cold and wet enough for proper hockey. The version played running around a cold muddy field without ice skates on is not to her taste or inclination. She fears the ice-skates and protective clothing she has brought with her are going to be useless baggage. Then she discovers the Pork Futures Warehouse and regularly breaks in to practice real hockey and skating. Scroll forward by ten years and she is a graduate and a teaching assistant at the School. By this story, she has worked out a deal with the PFW's owners to use a hitherto wasted space for recreation. Fellow Acerians and, er, Swommi people flock to pay for admission. Both to particpate in, or to spectate, mass brawls on ice with lots of applied violence, and perhaps a little actual hockey in between fights. Thus, with a sort of Canadian-like people in town, Ankh-Morpork gets its first dedicated ice-hockey and skating venue.
- 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.
- In Four Brothers, oldest brother Bobby Mercer earned the nickname "The Michigan Mauler" during his days in the minor league and several of his fights are shown in the ending credits. He was missing quite a few teeth in those shots, too.
- 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. This is an exaggeration as while Bob Dill was an aggressive player and did get his ass handed to him it wasn't a curbstomp nor was he picked specifically to take out the Rocket.
- 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.
- 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.
- The entire point of the film Goon, where the protagonist is hired specifically for his ability to fight.
- Hilariously lampshaded in the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. While the honor guards watch a hockey game on TV, Casey decides to get them to play for a bit. The guys are confused, so Casey tells them to do "Just like [you] watched it on TV." They proceed to beat the crap out of each other, and Casey says "I'll roll with that".
- 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 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. Later, Booth proudly shows a video clip of a mate sustaining a broken arm in a hockey fight... and Bones immediately concludes that this kind of fall alone couldn't explain the kind of break he got. It turns out he has a rare form of vicious bone cancer.
- 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.
- There's an infinite number of real hockey fights in hockey leagues past and present, but what if you took real hockey goons and put them in a one-night fighting tournament? 2005's Battle of the Hockey Enforcers did this, cutting out all actual hockey in favour of a 15 man tournament broadcast live on pay-per-view, featuring minor league enforcers fighting for a $62,250, with LNAH player Dean Mayrand winning the top prize. The tournament was very controversial, and was barred from Winnipeg and Philadelphia before Prince George, British Columbia agreed to host it. Despite being the inspiration for a Gemini Award-winning episode of CTV's newsmagazine W-Five, the Battle of the Hockey Enforcers never returned for a second event.
- It would be simply impractical to list all the hockey fights that have gone on in the sport's history, but one must note the notorious Punch-up in Piestany, a bench-clearing brawl between the Canadian and Soviet teams during the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, which lasted for 20 minutes, forcing the officials to turn off the arena lights to try to stop the fight, and resulted in the game being voided and both teams disqualified from the championship, which cost Canada a guaranteed bronze medal and possibly betternote .
- Notably, there are only five hockey fights notable enough to merit its own Wikipedia pages: The Flyers/Senators brawl in 2004, the Good Friday Massacre, the Penguins/Islanders brawl in 2011, the Avalanche/Red Wings brawl in 1997, and the aformentioned Punch-up in Piestany. SB Nation also covers the Good Friday Massacre and the Avs-Red Wings fight in two videos.
- As mentioned, it would be simply impractical to list all the hockey fights. Luckily, hockeyfights.com has it covered.
- The arcade game Blades of Steel (later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System) was one of the first hockey video games to feature fighting, and the loser gets sent to the penalty box. The arcade game had a giant red "FIGHT" button in the middle of the controls (much larger than the two standard-sized buttons used for passing and shooting), and there's also a fight depicted on the home version's box art.
- 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.
- Mutant League Hockey has a simple fighting minigame, and every player has a stat that determines his fighting skill. With penalties off, there's no punishment for fighting and both participants keep playing as before; with penalties on, only the loser goes to the penalty box (which seems to be a popular concept as seen above). There's also lots of other violence, especially with penalties off since effectively there are no rules — you can make checks with punches, your stick, or even axes, hammers, and chainsaws.
- DSBT InsaniT: An AIR Hockey Fight to be more precise, between Alex, Seth, and their Darkness counterparts in 'VRcade'.
- 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.
- Strangely enough, another Disney hockey team- The Mighty Ducks- largely avert this, probably because they fight villains off the ice.
- 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.