The History of Caps Goalie Fights

Posted November 4, 2013

Best men at each other’s wedding, Olaf Kolzig and Byron Dafoe square off (AP)

For those of you who were wondering, the Ray Emery-Braden Holtby fight on Friday wasn’t the first time goaltenders put up their mitts. Let’s look at the other times:

January 19, 1979 Mike Wolfe (WSH) v. Rogie Vachon (DET)

This fight took place after a Capitals win. The game ended when Wolfe’s fellow teammate Gary Risling defended himself against a disgruntled Detroit Red Wing on the way to the locker room. Both teams returned to the ice and a ten-minute brawl ensued, the star fighters of which were Wolfe and Vachon. Though no video is available, read up on this hilarious account from a 1979 newspaper. Link

March 29, 1981 Mike Palmateer (WSH) v. Garry Howatt (NYI)

Not much is written about this fight, but it erupted one minute and five seconds into the first period of this Caps/Islanders game, which the Islanders went on to win 5-4.

April 26, 1996 Olaf Kolzig (WSH) v. Francois Leroux (PIT)

Following a hit, Caps legend Dale Hunter gets a little testy, there’s some pushing and shoving behind the net, and we have a line brawl ladies and gentleman. Before long, Washington tender Olaf Kolzig decides to get involved, not with the opposing goalie, but with defenseman Francois Leroux.

April 6, 1997 Bill Ranford v. Mark Fitzpatrick

A line brawl, a wrestling match, and two goalies in the middle of it. No punches thrown, but a goalie fight is a goalie fight, and it’s entertaining nonetheless.

November, 21 1998 Olaf Kolzig (WSH) v. Ken Belanger (BOS), Byron Dafoe (BOS)

Perhaps the most famous goalie fight in Caps history, best friends Olaf Kolzig and Byron Dafoe fight in defense of their respective teammates, laughing the whole time.

Bonus: February 10, 1991 Don Beaupre vs. Pete Peters

Fighting majors weren’t called but both goalies were involved in what was otherwise a line brawl.