Punch-up In Piestany

January 4, 2012 by staff 

Punch-up In PiestanyPunch-up In Piestany, The Punch-up in Piestany was an infamous bench-clearing brawl between Canada and the Soviet Union during the final game of the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Pie???¥any, Czechoslovakia (today Pie???¥any, Slovakia) on January 4, 1987. The incident resulted in the ejection of both nations, and while the Soviets had already been eliminated from medal contention, the disqualification cost Canada a certain medal – potentially the gold. The brawl is famous for officials having turned off the arena lights in a desperate attempt at ending the 20 minute melee. Much of the blame was placed on Norwegian referee Hans R?nning, who was selected for the game based on his perceived neutrality rather than experience.

Following the brawl, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) suspended the players involved for 18 months and the coaches for three years. The players’ suspensions were later reduced to six months on appeal, allowing several players from both teams to return for the 1988 tournament in Moscow. Both nations won medals in 1988; Canada won the gold medal while the Soviets won silver.

The brawl dramatically raised the profile of the World Junior Hockey Championships in Canada, where it is now one of the top events on the annual sports calendar. The fervent patriotism displayed by Canadian Broadcasting Corporationanlyst Don Cherry in the aftermath led to a sharp rise in his own popularity with Canadian fans. Several players in that game went on to play in the National Hockey League, including Brendan Shanahan, Theoren Fleury, Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny.

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