Great rivalries are littered all over the sports of the world, be it two teams from the same city, the two most successful teams, or even old past hostilities that still linger on. And in the NHL things are no different, in fact past rivalries in the NHL have been hostile to the extreme, including fan gags in the spectator’s area to glove drops on the ice. Hockey is the perfect sport to nurture rivalries, it is fast, furious and frequently violent. And here are two of the NHL’s most fierce rivalries.
Montreal Canadiens versus the Toronto Maple Leaves
The rivalry between the Canadiens and the Maple Leaves is one of the oldest in the NHL. And it has been dated back as far as 1917, which of course is over one hundred years old. It firstly began as a city rivalry with the two largest cities in Canada defending their turf. If you think that these two teams were among the founding six of the NHL it is hardly surprising that the animosity goes back so far. These two teams have faced off many times in the playoffs and an incredible five times in the Stanley Cup.
This fixture has a long history of off-putting chirping and even bench brawls. There was infamous incident in 2013 when a player from the Maple Leaves bit an opponent’s ear. In recent times Montreal has had the most success between the two teams which makes the rivalry even fiercer from Toronto.
Boston Bruins versus the Montreal Canadiens
Not only does the school bully enjoy a good scrap with the Toronto Maple Leaves he also picks a fight with the Boston Bruins. Rather than national rivalry this is country versus country and this scrap has been brewing since their very first fixture in 1924. A bizarre incident this year saw the Canadiens hiring a head coach that the Bruins had just released.These two willing combatants have faced each other in more fixtures than any other two teams in the NHL, both in playoffs and regular fixtures. These two bad boys of hockey have often been penalized for infractions that include coach thefts, fan violence, and frequent bench brawls. Nobody seems to know why there is such animosity between these two teams, it is certainly not geographical.
One infamous brawl involved two goalkeepers, Tim Thomas and Carey Price, it got so out of control that it spilled over to a giant locker room Wild West brawl. Let’s face it these two teams do not just hate each other it is far greater than that and fuelling the fire is that the current set of players are vocal in support of their mutual hatred. So don’t expect this rivalry to end any time soon. But one thing is for certain the great animosity that exists between the two teams makes this fixture a must-view and draws vast TV audiences every time the two teams play.