Last Updated May 13, 2022, 9:32 AM

Which NHL Fans are Most Likely to Start a Fight?

Most NHL games aren’t complete without fists flying on the ice, but what happens when fans start throwing punches in the stands like their hockey player heroes?

We surveyed more than 1,000 hockey fans to figure out which ones are most likely to fight, win or lose. Fans also weighed in on how the pandemic has impacted this time-honored… or really not so honored… tradition of the sport.

Both the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins have not shaken their ‘70’s nicknames. Known then as the Broad Street Bullies and Big Bad Bruins, fans have taken that to heart. Our survey ranked the fan bases as the top two most likely to start a fight. Although the Flyers will be the ones to throw the first punch, fans are betting the Bruins will be the ones to end it. 

Other fans you should give a wide berth to include the Detroit Red Wings (No. 3), Chicago Blackhawks (No. 4) and New York Rangers (No. 5). Fans of those teams are the top provokers in the league and are most likely to win a fight they (probably) started. 

While all fans should keep their tempers in check, certain fan bases should definitely head for concessions if a brawl breaks out. Fans of the Anaheim Ducks are most likely to lose a fight. The Arizona Coyotes and Seattle Kraken rounded out the top three fan bases most likely to need security to step in pronto. 

If the Canadians weren’t nice enough, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians are part of the top three fan bases most likely to try and keep the peace. Unsurprisingly, four out of the ten top ranked peacekeepers were from Canada.

NHL Fights: Players and Coaches

Of course, we had to take a look at which NHL players and coaches were most likely to duke it out too. 

New York Islanders’ defenseman Zdeno Chara may be the oldest player in the league right now, but don’t underestimate him. The survey found the 44-year-old is most likely to start a fight. 

Who could forget Connor Clifton’s NHL debut? The Bruins defenseman took on veteran player Jason Spezza during his first pro game which is probably why he ranked second. It’s no surprise LA Kings player Brendan Lemieux earned the third spot. He’s self admittedly told media outlets he likes to p*** off other teams and was even accused of biting another player’s hand during a fight on the ice in 2021. 

Coach-wise, Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour is most likely to win a fight. Have you seen him? He’s 51-years-old, more than six feet tall and jacked. ie. Don’t mess with him. Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy ranked second and Mike Sullivan, the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, came in third. 

NHL Fan Fights and the Pandemic

NHL fans say the pandemic has not helped fans keep their tempers in check. In fact, nearly a quarter of people (23%) say fan fights have increased since the pandemic started. 

Most fans want fighters to face more than the penalty box. 60% of people say fans who start fights should be banned from going to NHL games for the rest of their lives. So, if you feel the urge to throw a few punches in the stands just wait until it happens on the ice and live vicariously through your team. 

Methodology

In February 2022, we surveyed 1,000 NHL fans across the country and asked them to rank which fans were most likely to start, stop, win or lose a fight between other fans. 50% were male and 50% were female. The average age of respondents was 36. In order to determine which NHL players were most likely to start a fight, respondents selected from a list of the top 50 NHL players who currently have the most fights on the ice (both home and away games) during the 2021-2022 NHL season. 

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