On Friday evening, an enormous brawl broke out in a Québec Major Junior Hockey League game between the Halifax Mooseheads and the Saint John Sea Dogs. For the record, great team names.
After Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno took a hit from behind via Moosheads’ Kelly Bent, all hell broke loose when Veleno’s Sea Dogs teammate Bokondji Imama came off the bench to defend the honor of the Saint John rookie youngster – who received a league exception to play at 15-years-old. Junior hockey purists will tell you that 20-year-old Bent violated an unwritten law of the game going after the 1st overall draft pick Veleno, which justified Imama’s entrance.
As Imama and Bent exchanged blows for almost 90 seconds, two referees involved themselves in the tussle, albeit powerless to separate the players, who each ended up landing a few misguided shots on the zebras. Man, it’s too funny watching these refs try so hard to curtail such a heated fight and have zero success.
First off, what was the one linesman even doing, hugging Kelly Bent like a newborn baby as he was just kind of half going along with it? Like, do I want to fight or not? This is hockey, bro! C’mon.
Second, this is exactly why you’re supposed to let ’em fight, boys! When there’s animosity like that on a hockey rink, you can’t just belay it; that’s when cheap shots happen the next time around. Although, it seems both players involved in the brawl will have a little time off the ice to cool down.
Both Kelly Bent and Bokondji Imama were slapped with suspensions by the QMJHL. Bent is to serve 5 games and Imama and even harsher 15 for leaving the bench and acting as the instigator here as the one ref cuddled up next to Kelly Bent. But, of course, it’s understandable why he felt the need to defend his rookie teammate in such a fashion.
And yes, I totally wish the the QMJHL issued fines so I could’ve said “Junior Hockey Brawl So Hard Referees Wanna Fine Me.”