A couple months ago I set out to list some of my favourite lesser known tough guys from years past. Turned out to be a pretty popular subject (naturally), so I here I am with another five guys for part two.
In no particular order…..
1. Todd Ewen
Todd Ewen had a pretty so-so career as an enforcer until he managed to knock out Bob Probert with one punch in only his second NHL fight. With that reputation under his belt, Ewen managed to grab a ton of playing time when he was picked up in a trade after the expansion draft by the newly minted Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Along with his sidekick Stu Grimson, Ewen held the assistant captaincy for the entire three years he was in California. As the popularity of the Ducks started to increase, Ewen was put out on the ice to protect stars like Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. Hard to believe that the Ducks had one of the best one-two fighting punches in the league at one point.
Ewen ended his NHL career with 1911 penalty minutes.
2. Ryan VandenBussche
One of the best enforcers to get his start with the Cornwall Royals, VandenBussche managed to play in nine NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. He is probably best remembered for blooding and knocking out Nick Kypreos thus ending his career.
Watch the video. Kypreos is lights out as soon as the fist makes contact.
3. Andy Bezeau
Okay. I lied. This guy never made the NHL but Christ was he a nut job that deserves to be talked about.
A tough east-coast Canadian, Bezeau was actually drafted by the Boston Bruins in the early 90’s. Never making the show he spent 10 years in the minors, throwing punches for the Moncton Hawks, Fort Wayne Komets, South Carolina Stingrays and Detroit Vipers among others.
The best story he has? Being traded for a pair of washing machines. Even Paul Holmgren can’t make that stuff up.
He even managed to somehow work his way into the London Knights of the British Superleague in the early 2000s.
Watch a compilation of his with a great title:
4. Dave Manson
Nicknamed “Charlie” (I’ll let you make the correlation.), Manson was actually one of the few enforcers who had the hockey skill to back up his play. Playing in 1101 games throughout his NHL career, Manson managed to notched 390 points to compliment his 2792 penalty minutes. Not too shabby.
In one altercation with mediocre legend Sergio Momesso, Manson caught a punch in his throat damaging his larynx permanently. This made his voice raspy from here on out but that just added to his lore.
Oh and the Leafs traded him for Jyrki Lumme so there’s that too.
5. Lyndon Byers
Byers was a bit of a monster of a man and his role was to protect the stars of the Boston Bruins. He managed to rack up 1081 penalty minutes in only 279 games. He spent most of his career floating between the Bruins and their farm system before packing the skates away in 1995.
After hockey his career went into a complete different direction. He’s now a radio personality for a station in Boston and has made numerous appearances on tv shows throughout the years. Not bad for a kid from Saskatchewan.