Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Calgary Born Rookie Making a Case for Top NHL Heavyweight



Calgary kid Matt Rempe

We live in an age where platitudes such as enforcers are a dying breed or fighting is over in the NHL get passed around within almost every discussion involving the evolution of the sport of hockey.

In its current meta, the NHL averages around a fight every five games. Some teams are inclined to fight much more often, and some are known to fight less.

Minnesota currently leads the race with 30 fights on the season. That averages a little over (0.517) a fight every two games. Carolina or Colorado lean more on skill and drop the gloves only on special occasions. The two are tied for the least fighting majors in the league, with only five apiece. Fans expecting a fight while watching either team will only have an eight percent chance of seeing it happen on any given night

The odds are a little more skewed when watching the New York Rangers. Particularly when Calgary kid Matt Rempe is dressing.  

Only eight days into his National Hockey League career, the 6-foot-8 forward has three fights and one game ejection to his name.  

Carrying the style of an old school bruiser, Rempe has taken the league by storm as his Rangers team has gone 4-1-0 with him in the lineup. 

His first shift included his first fight. A decision-win for the 21-year-old over grizzled veteran Matt Martin, who has 156 fighting majors on his resume.  


While Eastern Conference fans may hold a bit of disdain for the throwback bomb-thrower, he’s a bit of a fun topic for Albertans given where he is from – and, boy, he’s making waves only five games into his NHL debut.  


Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette weighed in on Rempe’s impact following the 241-pounder scoring the game-winning goal against the Philidelphia Flyers on Feb. 24. A game that also featured a ten-bell bout between himself and Flyers facebreaker Nicolas Deslauriers.  

“You can just tell the players in the locker room just really like having him here. He’s smiling, he loves what he does, and loves to hit and be physical.” 


The goal itself was a combination of luck and size. Imagine being a goaltender trying to follow the play behind the massive former AJHL Spruce Grove Saint. 


Most recently, the burden of bringing that style of game has turned on Rempe to a degree. Accepting his second fight in as many nights didn’t exactly go as planned.  


Columbus forward Mathieu Olivier took a surgical approach, landing blow after blow to the face of the fatigued center. The sequence will serve as a reminder not to fight boys from Biloxi, Mississippi. Your luck will always run dry.  

Following in the footsteps of Calgarian players willing to slug it out on any given night, such as Tim Hunter, Dean Chynoweth, Brad Ference, or the venerable Archie Henderson, is a tall order. The trend has certainly faded in recent years. Defenceman Brayden Coburn is the closest comparable when it comes to the chronology of the role.

Lessons such as “Don’t fight again within 24 hours of participating in a potential fight of the year” will be part of the process for the two-year pro, but at only 21 years of age, Rempe will be an interesting name to keep an eye on in years to come.


More from Calgary Hockey Now

Do the Calgary Flames Have a Toughness Problem?


Weegar Calgary Flames

(AP Photo/John Locher)