If you are on the hunt for a fast-paced, exciting game that allows the possibility of almost anything to happen, hockey is a perfect choice. After all, what other sport gives you the opportunity to wield a huge stick, attach steel blades to your feet, and schwack things as hard as you possibly can?
When it comes to extreme sports, there is no denying that hockey is up there amongst the top spots. As proof, here are some of the most outrageous moments in hockey history – get ready for some severe wincing!
Bob Baun scores a winner…on a broken leg
Hockey players are seriously hardcore, and this was proven by Bob Baun in 1964, who is living proof that a star player will stop at nothing to achieve that winning shot.
During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, Baun was taken off the field with a broken leg, only to return to play during overtime.
It is important to remember that he was starting the match as the underdog – Baun had only scored four goals in 1963-1964, and never reached more than eight goals a season during the course of his entire 17 year NHL career.
Despite this – and a painful injury – he scored the vital game-winning goal during the match, allowing the Maple Leafs to storm to victory, and resulting in the claiming of the Stanley Cup.
Baun is proof that when victory is in sight, a dedicated player will do whatever it takes.
Clint Malarchuk has his throat cut
Some seriously nasty and messy injuries can arise from a game of hockey, but Malarchuk’s carotid artery injury is still ranked among the worst sporting injuries of all time.
The initial collision didn’t seem to show anything too dramatic, but the impact allowed the blade of a player skate to slice across Malarchuk’s vital carotid artery, resulting in an obscene amount of blood.
In addition to the severe trauma for his teammates, there were also 11 fainting spectators and two heart attacks.
Fortunately, Malachuk survived the injury, thanks to the quick thinking of an exceptionally-skilled surgeon and a quick-witted trainer. Over 300 sutures were needed to close the wound and the incident led to a change in legislation requiring all goalies to wear neck protection during a match.
Jeremy Roenick plays with a shattered jaw
Sometimes, the win is worth the pain, and Jeremy Roenick is a testament to this fact. In 1999 while battling the Coyotes, Roenick took a header face-first into the boards, and the impact caused his jaw to shatter in three places.
As if this wasn’t grim enough, he actually pushed the pieces of his jaw back into place himself before heading to the locker room to allow medics to wire his jaw shut.
Unbelievably, he re-emerged onto the ice shortly afterward to take his place with the team and he actually finished the game. Talk about extreme!
Kevin Stevens breaks his face
One of the worst parts of this extreme moment was the inevitability; it occurred when Stevens has already lost consciousness, and so was totally helpless and unable to defend himself.
In 1993, Stevens was participating in a playoff game when he smashed into the sideboards, knocking himself out when he collided with the helmet of an opponent. He spun away from the impact and landed face-first on the ice, with his head taking the full force of the blow.
The injury shattered every bone in his face, and he was carried off on a stretcher, never to play the same way again.
The sucker punch of Stephen Moore
Sadly, not all sportsmen see the value of fair play and good sportsmanship, and one of the dirtiest hits ever recorded occurred in the 2004 match between the Vancouver Canucks and the Colorado Avalanche.
The game had been challenging from the start, with fights and disputes between players. Things came to a head when Todd Bertuzzi, a player with a dodgy history, approached Moore with the intention of starting a fight.
Moore refused and attempted to divert before being sucker-punched from behind, driving his body face down onto the ice. He remained motionless for 10 minutes.
Moore’s injuries included a severe concussion, three fractured vertebrae, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves, and several facial lacerations. He never played for the NHL again.
This resulted in a huge legal battle for teams, players, and the NHL as a whole, and the moment went down in hockey history.
Not even cancer can keep them down!
If you needed a further testament to the extreme dedication and commitment of hockey players, look no further than Mario Lemieux. In 1992, he was at the peak of his game, only to be forced into a mid-season quit to undergo radiation treatment as he battled cancer.
He returned to play in Philadelphia and was greeted by a standing ovation from both teams before going on to helping his squad take the title and win the league.
The most important moment here was the chance to put aside ancient rivals and hostilities between the Penguins and the Flyers to celebrate the commitment, courage, and strength of a single-player, a true embodiment of the real spirit of hockey.
Putting the team first…even through a fountain of blood
Ladislav Nagy made history in 2015 during a Continental Hockey League game when he took a skate to the throat after an awkward fall.
Instead of falling to the ground, calling for a whistle, or crying out in pain, he skated to the bench and sat, ensuring that his teammates could benefit from a line change, rather than risk them being short-handed.
The injury was not deadly, and Nagy was able to make a full recovery and return to the sport. The moment went down in history for its relevance, and the commitment and loyalty of a player to their team, even in the more dire and dangerous of circumstances!
When it comes to extreme sports, hockey is up there as one of the most brutal. Players are fierce, loyal, and dedicated, and this is an example of players going to the absolute limits for their trophy, their sport, and their team.