A minor league hockey game in Carolina completely fell apart on Sunday night when even the officials in charge of keeping the peace completely gave up on doing their jobs and skated away from what turned out to be a wild bench clearing brawl.
The game was a minor league match up between the Carolina Thunderbirds and the Columbus River Dragons, not exactly the kind of game that you would usually see covered by us here at Hockey Feed, however this was such an exceptionally insane brawl that it just demanded to be covered. These two teams have a long history and have had some violent incidents occur between them in the past, and in fact there was some rough stuff even before the ventual brawl which occurred during the game's third period.
The coaches here deserve a fair share of the blame for how bad things got during this game, and in fact it even looked like they would be getting involved in the altercation at one point but eventually managed to calm down enough to avoid getting physical. In spite of cooler heads prevailing as far as the coaches were concerned the same can not be said for the players who immediately began to take swings at one another after the coaches had settled down.
There was just under 7 minutes left in the third when all hell broke loose and although there were initially only a few players out on the ice the altercations eventually drew every player out from both benches, resulting in a massive bench clearing brawl between the two organizations. Players paired up one after another and began trading heavy blows, with some players even pairing up multiple times as they vented their frustrations on their opponents. It was simply too much for the minor league officials to handle, although to their credit they did a valiant job of attempting to stop the madness, and eventually they simply gave up on the entire situation.
The frustrated officials could be seen skating away from the brawl after doing their best to stop, seemingly resigned to letting the players police themselves.