Cities Journal

21 Toughest Enforcers In The NHL


2. Dave Semenko

You could basically build an entire website revolving around the number of Semenko’s fights. He was in charge of protecting Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jack Kurri, and, most importantly, Wayne Gretzky throughout his career with the Edmonton Oilers. He joined the Oilers before they were a recognizable name in the NHL, and went on to become a prime-time enforcer in one of the most famous teams in league history.

Apart from the occasional trading of blows normal for every hockey game, Semenko had notable feuds with Basil McRae, whom he fought about 4 times, and Tim Hunter, whom he fought a total of 10 times. Semenko is also known for participating in an exhibition bout with boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

A hockey player who is willing to take on a boxing legend in hand-to-hand combat is certainly not a man you’d want to mess with. During his 10 seasons, Semenko fought an impressive 87 times and had the honor of lifting the Stanely Cup twice. He wasn’t the best goal scorer, but his contribution was invaluable.

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