Jeremy Roenick played his fair share of games in the NHL. The United States Hall of Famer skated in over 1300 games, putting up 1216 points and playing in the NHL All Star Game seven times.
He could do more than just score points. Roenick also was a fierce competitor not afraid of throwing his gloves.
He fought players like Darcy Tucker, Ulf Samuelsson and Garth Butcher during his career. But one of the toughest ones happened during his rookie season, representing the Blackhawks.
“It was a decision born out of ignorance rather than bravery.” That’s how Roenick’s describing his first NHL fight, going up against Marty McSorley, in his book JR: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey.
Facing the Los Angeles Kings, Roenick steamrolling him with a big hit. He fell to the ice and Roenick thought it was all over.
Actually, it was just the beginning.
“McSorley was flat on his back, and I stood over him like a triumphant warrior. That was my mistake,” Roenick writes.
“When our eyes met, I sensed that I had just awakened a fire-breathing dragon. Having turned 20 only two weeks before, I honestly didn’t appreciate that it was against NHL etiquette co celebrate a heavy check. But after viewing the demonic look on McSorley’s face, I instantly understood that I had done something horribly wrong.”
McSorley quickly stood up. He grabbed Roenick by his neck, who decided to drop his gloves.
Everyone on Roenick’s team yelled “NOOOO.”
It was official. Jeremy Roenick headed into his first fight in the NHL, and it was against Marty McSorley.
His teammates screamed, telling him to get out of there, but it was too late.
Roenick describes it as being McSorley’s personal punching bag.
“I was in survival mode the instant he jackhammered me with is initial punch. I was flinging my arms as wildly as I could to make it look like I was putting up a good fight, but this was no contest,” Roenick writes in JR: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey.
“It was as if a light switch had been turned off. I could hear everything around me, and I knew what was happening, but there was total blackness.”
Watch the fight via this link (Youtube).
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