By Ian Esplen
December 18, 2013 (ISN) – January 4, 1987 is a day that will go down in Canadian hockey history forever. With Canada leading 4-2, the lights went out on junior hockey and a bench clearing brawl that erupted at 6:07 of the second period cost Canada at least a bronze medal – gold if they had won by five goals.
It is believed that the brawl started after a two-handed slash was delivered to Theoren Fleury. The slash was likely a retaliation of an earlier Fleury goal celebration.
After the game, an emergency meeting was called with each participating country sending a delegate to vote on Canada and Russia’s fate.
Canada’s representative, Dennis McDonald, was the only member of the nine delegates to vote against disqualifying both teams and erasing all statistics associated with the teams.
McDonald is quoted as saying, “It was like we were never there”. And Canada was told to have their team on the to bus in 30 minutes and to get out of Czechoslovakia.
All involved in the brawl were originally suspended from international play for 18 months, but that was overturned and changed to six months so that the players were eligible for the World Juniors in Russia in 1988.
Canada would beat Russia in 1988 for the gold medal.
The 1987 version of Team Canada featured soon-to-be NHL stars Theoren Fleury, Glen Wesley, Brendan Shanahan and Pierre Turgeon.
Canada’s four goals were be scored by Theoren Fleury (2), David Latta and Steve Nemeth.
Where were you when the lights went out?