Every year during the Stanley Cup playoffs, all we hear about is the specialness and the sanctity of the traditional post-series handshake near center ice. Players might get chippy during the games, and they even brawl like drunken bikers once in a blue moon, but once the series is over, all of that stuff is bygones, the respectful embraces begin, and—oh my God, what's happening in Sweden?
After a match played Sunday between U18 junior teams Åker/Strängnäs HC and Flemingsbergs IK, the players engaged in a brawl during the handshake, resulting in 871 penalty minutes and 33 game misconducts. According to the epic box score, the only players to skate away without being penalized were the backup goaltenders—although considering that the reserve goalies didn't play, perhaps they're not in the box score but did get involved in the fight and were penalized.
Here is the ridiculous, never-ending bill:
Good, clean game.
So what happened? Things got testy during the handshake line, everyone started tussling with each other, and the referees gave every single player a game misconduct penalty. A post at Afton Bladet (translated from Swedish using Google Translate) says it looked worse than it actually was.
"It is disaster and not good. Certainly, no damage, but it does not look good and it was trash talk that started it all and we have some guys who are hot. So this should not behave in an Ice Hockey. We will talk about this in the team, says [Akers coach Jimmy] Albin."
The post also notes that the punishments were so severe because the refs followed the letter of the law, which is more strict for the junior game than the pros, according to chairman of the officials committee, Robert Sjöström:
"This referee did very right when he noted everything that happened. Then - before he wrote down everything - he contacted the union. They said he would follow the rulebook and highlight that it was not right, there are five plus a Game Misconduct for all involved. There are two players in the Arable / Strängnäs and one in Flemingsberg is notified and can be further punished. It is Punishment Committee in the Eastern Region that decides what will happen.
"It was right to show the all?
"Yes. If you follow the rule book - that these judges do - then it is right. Had this happened in the division, Hockey Allsvenskan or SHL, it had never been these proportions. Where do they do it a little differently, you have professional experience."
There's no video yet, dammit, but it probably looked something like this:
Yep. Underage Swedes, pushing and shoving when they're not supposed to. These kids today.
h/t Elite Prospects