Best Hockey Enforcers of All Time

Hey sports fans, Alan back with another sports and fitness post for you all! I hope you are all getting ready for Christmas, I know my family is. I found my son a copy of the ‘Top NHL fights of all Time’ DVD and a bunch of cheap used hockey equipment on the secondhand bargain website My little man loves playing ice hockey, and since he isn’t that little anymore he is having to play an enforcer role this year. I thought with him having this historically vital role, I would go over some of the top enforcers of all time. He seems to want to continue playing hockey for a while, so I thought that a set of gear would help him for the next couple years and the DVD should help him see what it means to be a true hockey enforcer

I got him some great ice hockey skates, from here;, and I can’t wait to see him in action.

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Colton Orr Tommy Sesito

What makes a good Enforcer?

In hockey, straight up goons are a dime a dozen. An enforcer however, is a special player not completely unlike a unicorn. Any goon can throw a bunch of punches, but an enforcer is feared for his ability to knock an opponent onto their back and then dump the puck into the net. With this in mind, it is no coincidence that the greatest fictional enforcers were a reference to the Godfather of the position, Eddie Shore. Shore played for the original Boston Bruins back when the league had six teams. In just a 44 game season, shore would regularly have over 100 penalty minutes, but he would also have double digits goals and even goals from the blue line. Shore was so good at what he did, he was able to capture the Hart trophy (awarded to the best player in the league) four times.

Clark Gillies

There must be something in the grain over there in Saskatchewan, Canada. Just like Shore, Gillies was born in the flatland of the Canadian Prairies. Gillies began his mark as a great enforcer in his home province, playing for the Regina Pats, managing an astonishing 570 penalty minutes and 283 points (117 goals among them) within only three seasons. He was selected by the New York Islanders, and actually cleaned up his act playing in the NHL. He was no less feared as a scrapper or power forward however, and made his big mark during the 1980 Stanley Cup run. Gillies was tasked with protecting his stars against Terry O’Reilly and got the better of him in the series and tallied 16 points while doing so.

Tie Domi

No enforcer list is complete without the tiny man, Tie Domi.This is the kind of guy I would expect to see crocodile bungee jumping Measuring in at only 5 foot 9 inches, Domi was selected by Toronto in 1988 but dealt away soon after to the Winnipeg Jets. He soon hit his stride with the Jets, and in the 1993-1994 season he achieved 347 sin bin minutes protecting his stars in Teemu and Salanne. He would leave for Toronto again in ‘96, becoming a fan favorite in town. Domi would go on to become the number three all time for penalty minutes with 3505, but is most know for a couple key hits/fights like the infamous elbow that knocked Scott Niedermayer out of the playoffs in 2001.

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Dave Schultz

As far as nicknames for enforcers go, Dave ‘Hammer’ Schultz has the best one. Another Saskatchewan boy, Schultz was the typical feared enforcer who also had the ability to kill your team with a well timed goal. In the 1970’s, the Philadelphia Flyers played a very high action, in your face type of game and had no real need for a brawler/enforcer but Schultz made a place for himself. During the Flyers first Stanley Cup winning season, Schultz totaled 348 penalty minutes along with 20 goals, and had another 139 penalty minutes during the playoffs with a half dozen goals thrown in. He made the record book the next season, with a still not matched 472 penalty minutes. That is the equivalent of just over 10 whole games! In his 535 career games played, the Hammer totaled 2294 penalty minutes and an even 200 points.

Valeri Vasilev

Vasilev is the only European on this list, and he deserved his spot. Someone who if he would be playing now-a-days would for sure be caught up in the doping scandal, Vasilev is considered the most brutal enforcer to every come out of the Soviet Block. He played for nine Soviet League winners, and unfortunately as the exposure to the west was limited at that time we know little about his play there but when he competed at an international level, all eyes were on him.

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Stamkos fighting

If you’re son or daughter would like to get into hockey, I highly recommend buying Ice Hockey gear from here; 

So that is the list I compiled for my son about the best hockey enforcers of all time, these tough guys are great to learn from as a young goal scorer. I hope you liked this list, more to come soon. Merry Christmas everyone.