Oh, those crazy Russians.
Just when you think you`ve seen everything in hockey, a video surfaces that shows a referee losing it on a player. After assessing a hooking penalty, then ref is apparently tripped up by the player he sentenced to the box. Instead of handling it in a professional manner and immediately ejecting the player, the ref removed his helmet and charged the unsuspecting player, getting in a couple of punches before a player on the other team got involved, not to break the fight up, but to challenge both the player and the ref.
This, of course, could only happen in Russia, where the unexpected is the new expected.
As far as I know, this is the first documented case of a referee attacking a player. We`ve seen players attack teammates, coaches attack players, players and coaches attack referees, but not this.
Confrontations between players and officials in hockey is nothing new. Tom Lysiak played 14 NHL seasons and had 843 points with the Atlanta Flames and Chicago Black Hawks. However, he is perhaps best remembered for intentionally tripping linesman Ron Foyt off a faceoff during a game in October 1983. Lysiak received a 20-game suspension, one of the stiffest in league history at the time.
One of the most brutal attacks on an official occurred in the Ontario Jr. B ranks during the 1994-95 season. It happened during the dying seconds of a playoff series. Mike Majewski of the Orillia Terriers, playing his final game of junior hockey, became enraged with a referee, then wound up and punched him in the face. An Orillia newspaper ran a photo of Majewski connecting with the referee`s jaw. Talk about irrefutable evidence. Majewski, who played a handful of games in the OHL with Niagara Falls and Owen Sound, was given a 10-year ban from playing hockey in Canada. He was also charged with two counts of assault.
The name Mike Majewski means nothing to most hockey fans, but as someone who saw him play the Jr. B level, I can verify that he was a character right out of Slapshot. He was a caged animal – a beast on blades. He took on all comers and appeared to possess zero self-control.
But, he was a beauty in every sense of the word.
Right after he was acquired by the Lindsay Bears, Majewski accompanied the GM to North Bay in order to pick up a goalie the team had just acquired. The GM was convinced he had traded for a fearless player who would protect his teammates at all costs. When they stopped in a mall in North Bay, Majewski sat down at a piano and tickled the ivories to the delight of onlookers. The GM, needless to say, began to have second thoughts.
But those fears were quickly put to rest as Majewski became a fan favourite in Lindsay. He fought like his life depended on it. A one occasion he took on a couple of players at the same time – and drubbed them both. His sweater was sponsored by a casket manufacturing company, and whenever he scored a goal at home, Majewski would skate to centre ice and slide on his back, hands directly above his head. Take that, Nail Yakupov.
Off the ice, he was a softie. In addition to playing the piano, he was involved in theatre arts at the local high school. The girls loved him. On the surface he was the type of guy you`d want your daughter to date.
But on the ice, he had absolutely no self-control. The incident with the referee came as no surprise to anyone who`d ever seen him play. It was an unfortunate end to a colourful junior hockey career. Attempts to track Majewski down for this story were unsuccessful. But the legend of Mike Majewski lives on.