The Battle of The Hockey Enforcers has come and gone with nary a household name to show for it. The much rescheduled Enforcer fest finally met a deadline and provided for the fanatic of fisticuffs a display of on ice pugilism not seen since the Broad Street Bullies of the 70's.
The CN centre in Prince George was the reluctant venue for the debut of goonery without hockey, as legal advice left the PG city council no choice but to allow the event to go ahead after a few bouts of cold feet and sober second thought. As it got closer it seemed the only press the event was receiving was that of the negative variety and caught in the middle of it all was Prince George a city that will now be remembered for pugilism without the pucks.
As far as a marquee event, this probably will not go down in the books as a great moment for sport or entertainment. In fact many of the observers of the Saturday night slugfest suggest the aroma of the bush league wafted through the CN centre, probably not what the fine municipality of Prince George was hoping for. Indeed on Prime Time Sports Monday on the Fan radio network and Sportsnet across Canada, Prince George was not painted in the most positive light for its efforts.
The show featured a number of scheduled participants who neglected to show up for show time and others who were made quick work of on the way to the final bout of the evening, some two hours after the first fist flew.
The frequent delays and flowing beer resulted in just us much action off the ice as on, security guards and Prince George RCMP spent a fair amount of time keeping over excited patrons from slugging each other around the confines of the assigned beer garden area. Perhaps the promoters missed out on an opportunity here, ringside seats around the beer garden may have provided some of the nights best bouts!
In the end, the tally was 16 fighters at the rink, 2000 patrons sitting in a 6,000 seat arena and a 62,000 dollar cheque for the night's winner Dean Mayrand. Not sure what Mr. Mayrand's plans may have been on Saturday night, but a visit to a bank first thing Monday morning would have be a wise idea. Judging by the obstacles in the way of this event from the get go, fighting his way through the field of fisticular challengers may be the easiest thing of the whole exercise. Fighting his way to the front of the pay line may provide an equal, if not more challenging adventure.