Ice hockey is a wonderful sport with a massive following, especially in the northernmost countries of the world. It seems like a simple team sport at first sight but it has many layers, as most other sports do – it’s often more than meets the eye, and especially more dangerous than the occasional collisions and brawls make it seem. Basically, the only risk-free way to play ice hockey would be to give Break Away, a popular Red Flush slot machine, a try. The Red Flush has a collection of great sports-related slots, but Break Away is one to stand out. It is totally hockey-inspired, complete with the background sounds and visuals. Its reels are filled with symbols related to the sport, including an ice resurfacer (which is more important than it seems at first sight). Basically, Break Away is one of the least dangerous ways to play a hockey-related game online, especially if you play it at the Red Flush in practice mode. But let’s proceed to some hockey facts you might not have known about, showing just how dangerous this sport can be.
1. A legendary brawl
All hockey brawls start by one of the players striking back. This was the case at the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships when the teams of Canada and the USSR started the longest and most brutal hockey brawl of history. The fight started just minutes before the end of the second period, and lasted for over 20 minutes, prompting the officials to walk off the ice and trying to turn off the arena lights. According to the Soviet side, the Canadian trainer was the one to start the fight by punching one of the Soviet assistant coaches in the stomach.
2. Marc Staal’s Eyes
New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was playing without a visor in a 2013 game, and it almost cost him an eye. He took a slap shot fired by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen and diverted by a stick right into the face, which almost cost him his eyesights. Needless to say, visors became mandatory starting that season.
3. Cutthroat on the ice
Bruises, broken noses, jaws, even ribs – these are all plausible hockey injuries, but having your throat cut is not something you see too often on the ice. Still, this was exactly what happened to Buffalo Sabres player Clint Malarchuk in 1989. As two players collided near the goal, one of their blades struck Malarchuk on the neck, severing his carotid artery, and injuring his jugular vein. There was blood everywhere, causing eleven fans to faint, three players to throw up on the ice, and two spectators suffering heart attacks. Malarchuk’s life was saved by Jim Pizzutelli, the team’s athletic trainer, who happened to be an army medic.