ECHL players exchange punches before game even starts

·2 min read
Travis Howe and Nico Blachman were ready to drop the gloves before the game even started. (Getty)
Travis Howe and Nico Blachman were ready to drop the gloves before the game even started. (Getty)

Fighting at the first faceoff is one thing, but fighting during warm-ups is taking it to a whole new level.

In ECHL action on Wednesday night between the Jacksonville Icemen and South Carolina Stingrays, Icemen forward Travis Howe and Stingrays forward Nico Blachman decided to square off at centre ice even before the first whistle.

After seemingly a lengthy conversation with some heckling coming from Howe, and some sly grins from Blachman, the two parted ways. And then, of course, the Icemen forward pushed the envelope a little bit further, stretching his leg into the Stingrays’ half of the ice, which in turn enticed Blachman into shoving his leg back over the red line.

A few stick jabs and ginger shoves later, Howe knew he had instigated Blachman into crossing the usual calm line during team warm-ups.

Despite the two not officially dropping gloves and the event being limited to a pre-game heated shoving match, the ECHL dealt identical two-game suspensions and fines of an undisclosed amount to both Howe and Blachman. Additionally, Jacksonville’s Jacob Friend and South Carolina’s Alex Brink were also fined an undisclosed amount of their contribution in the scrum.

Wednesday's bout was a few days in the making, as Blachman and Howe engaged in a proper fight back on Dec. 26, the first of two back-to-back contests between the Icemen and Stingrays.

You have to love minor-league hockey.

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