When former Boston University Terrier Jason Lawrence was traded from the Charlotte Checkers to the Gwinnett Gladiators on Thanksgiving Day, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Lawrence was not getting ice time, due to Charlotte being stock full roster wise. Their AHL affiliates were not calling up players as much as before, a problem not unique to Charlotte, but plaguing many ECHL teams this young season.
In Charlotte, Lawrence had been reunited with former BU teammates Kevin Schaeffer (often on loan to Lake Erie, aka BU AHL West) and Kenny Roche, both class of 2007. Roche and Lawrence had even spent some time on the same line during their short time together with the Checkers.
During his first game with Gwinnett, Lawrence faced Charlotte, his new old team, and scored a nice slapper goal, despite his last name being misspelled on his jersey. Saturday night, the two teams faced each other again, with Roche kicking off the evening’s scoring.
Then things became heated between the two teams. The Gladiators and Checkers combined for 47 penalty minutes, made up of multiple slashing, roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct and fighting penalities. (Maybe it was pent up anger at having to play hockey on Thanksgiving night in that hockey hotbed known as Georgia.)
At the midpoint of the second period, however, was the largest fight of the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the fight that will join the John Curry Goalie Fight in the BU Alumni Minor League Hockey Fight Hall of Fame: the Jason Lawrence – Kenny Roche smackdown, courtsey of GladiatorsForum.org. (I literally tried for an hour to convert it to a better file type, but I do not have Quicktime Pro. You will need a DivX plug-in on your browser to view the video.) The fight was broken up by the refs the second a helmetless Lawrence was pinned to the ice by Roche. Both players made themselves comfy in the penalty box, earning five minute fighting majors for the fight.
The local Gwinnett newspaper commented in its game notes the next day that Roche and Lawrence were teammates in Charlotte, but neglected to mention that the two were college teammates as well.
Oh, former teammate fights, you always are special occasions.