Game Between Russia and Canada Resulted in Both Teams Getting Disqualified from World Junior Tournament

Published on December 19th, 2023 6:25 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The bench-clearing brawl took place between Canada and Russia at the World Juniors Championships in 1987. The "Punch-up in Piestany" is a legendary hockey brawl that involved some of the greatest players to have ever laced up skates in the NHL, including the likes of Theo Fleury, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and others.


At the time, the World Juniors weren't nearly as big of a deal in Canada as they are now. The "Punch-up in Piestany" significantly elevated the status of the tournament, and it is now must-watch TV for any hockey fan.

The Soviet Union and Canada were squaring off in the final game of the preliminary round at the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship in Piestany, Czechoslovakia.

The Canadian team was humming and looked poised to win gold in the tournament, while the Soviet Union had already been eliminated.

The Soviet Union team was in a contentious mood, as Sergei Shesterikov and Dave McLlwain got into it off the opening faceoff.

Theo Fleury scored the first goal of the game, and his celebration involved sliding across the ice while pretending the gun the Soviet team down with a machine gun. The chippy play continued.

By the end of the first period, the Canadians were up 3-1.


After exchanging goals early in the second period, chaos broke loose.

Shesterikov and Canadian Everett Sanipass got into a fight.

Pavel Kostickhin slashed Theo Fleury, which resulted in another fight.

Soon, a full-on line brawl broke out.

Evgeny Davydov left the Soviet Union bench, which resulted in a bench-clearing brawl.

There were headbutts thrown. There were 2-on-1 fights. All told, there were over 12 fights that took place.


The referee was a "neutral" Norwegian referee, and he clearly had no idea how to handle the situation.

The referees, at the behest of tournament organizers, left the ice. The brawl raged on.

Tournament organizers even tried turning the arena lights off to gain control of the situation, but the fights raged on.


Both teams ended up getting disqualified from the tournament, which possibly ended up costing Canada the gold medal.

There was a conspiracy theory floated in Canada that the Soviet Union had purposely started the brawl in order to get Canada disqualified from the tournament.

There is also another theory that Pierre Turgeon - who played for Canada - has not been admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame because he refused to come off the bench to fight.


Canada was particularly incensed as they felt that the other countries in the tournament - who voted to disqualify both teams - did so in order to have a better chance of winning the gold medal.

Finland ended up winning the gold medal, while Czechoslovakia ended up finishing second.

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