Next to MMA, hockey is arguably the most intense professional sport to watch. Every year, hockey players are becoming bigger, stronger and faster competitors. Along with heavy body checks, fighting is a huge part of hockey. Initiating a fight puts opponents in check, excites the crowd and motivates teammates. Fights occur so frequently during the NHL season that enforcer players actually learn to box and train throughout the year. Out of the 30 NHL teams, each one carts at least three or four players who relish a good fight. Fans really get two sports in one: hockey and boxing.
MTV Clutch meticulously researched all of the NHL fights of 2011 and chose the best 10, complete with videos for your viewing pleasure.
10. Cody Bass vs Cody McCormick
It took a little while for these two to get started, but after some heated dialogue they square off in front of the net and unleash the fury. Cody Bass goes down first but he quickly regains his balance and continues to fire away at Cody McCormick.
9. Douglas Murray vs Eric Boulton
This fight doesn't last long but it's intense to say the least. Douglas Murray looks like Axl Rose on steroids and Eric Boulton is surprisingly scrappy. There's an even amount of punches distributed, but watch the slow motion replay and you'll see that Boulton lands a titanic right on Murray to win the fight.
8. Jordin Tootoo vs Aaron Volpatti
This fight would be pure carnage if the refs don't interrupt. Aaron Volpatti starts with some heavy blows, but Jordin Tootoo dominates the second half of the brawl with hooks and uppercuts to take the crown.
7. Sheldon Brookbank vs Derek Dorsett
It's evident these two players hate each other. Sheldon Brookbank (maybe the toughest man named "Sheldon") stays on his skates until the end, but doesn't take Derek Dorsett to the blood bank as the fight stays very even.
6. Mike Brown vs Kris Newbury
Both players exchange choice words before the puck even drops. Immediately after the face off, Mike Brown and Kris Newbury go into attack mode. Brown connects 15 times including a few punches to the jaw, but, miraculously, Newbury never falls to the ice comatose.
5. Braydon Coburn vs Steve Downie
5'11" Steve Downie steps up to 6'5" Braydon Coburn. A noble and bold move on Downie's part, but he's no match for Coburn's uppercuts. While Downie doesn't go down, you can tell he no idea which country he's in by the fight's conclusion.
4. Krys Barch vs Cam Janssen
It's tough to tell who wins this fight. Krys Barch and Cam Janssen lock horns in an attempt to get their teams motivated. Janssen draws blood first with a bomb above Barch's right eye. However, Janssen is also the first to fall.
3. Tanner Glass vs Cody McCormick
This one erupts out of nowhere. Tanner Glass and Cody McCormick exchange swift haymakers until Glass drops in front of the net. McCormick gets the V but his face does not.
2. Jay Rosehill vs Brian McGrattan
It's amazing no one falls in this match up. Both Jay Rosehill and Brian McGrattan trade continuous strikes to the point of physical exhaustion. Even though Rosehill skates away, McGrattan connects the majority of his punches and gets the win.
1. Arron Asham vs Jay Beagle
We consider this the best fight of 2011. Although it's not much of a fight, it makes number one because of Aaron Asham's post fight mock toward Jay Beagle.
+ Check out all of our Best of 2011 coverage