Fighting has long been a part of ice hockey. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004)—who founded Dangerfield’s comedy club in Manhattan—made a popular joke about it in July 1978:
“I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”
Although Dangerfield popularized the joke, a similar line was cited in the Chicago (IL) Tribune on January 10, 1975:
“A HOCKEY game broke out at the fights Wednesday night at the Stadium, but few customers objected to the change in agenda.”
“What’s the difference between a hockey game and a boxing match?” is another joke involving the two sports. Other sayings about hockey violence include “If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up” and “Give blood—play hockey.”
Wikipedia: Fighting in ice hockey
Fighting in ice hockey is an established tradition of the sport in North America, with a long history involving many levels of amateur and professional play and including some notable individual fights. Although a definite source of criticism, it is a considerable draw for the sport, and some fans attend games primarily to see fights. Fighting is usually performed by one or more enforcers, or “goons"—players whose role it is to fight and intimidate—on a given team and is governed by a complex system of unwritten rules that players, coaches, officials, and the media refer to as “the code”. Some fights are spontaneous, while others are premeditated by the participants. While officials tolerate fighting during hockey games, they impose a variety of penalties on players who engage in fights.
Wikipedia: Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield (born Jacob Cohen, November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004), was an American comedian, and actor, known for the catchphrases “I don’t get no respect!,” “No respect, no respect at all… that’s the story of my life” or “I get no respect, I tell ya” and his monologues on that theme. He is also famous for his 1980s film roles, notably in Easy Money, Caddyshack and Back To School.
10 January 1975, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Black Hawks close in on Canucks 2-1” by Bob Verdi, sec. 4, pg. 1, col. 8:
A HOCKEY game broke out at the fights Wednesday night at the Stadium, but few customers objected to the change in agenda.
11 July 1978, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, “Digest,” pg. 15A, col. 1:
NOTABLE QUOTE: Comedian Rodney Dangerfield: “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”
12 July 1978, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Quotebook,” pt. 3, pg. 2, col. 1:
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who never gets any respect: “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”
September 04, 1978
They Said It
Edited by E. M. Swift
Rodney Dangerfield, comedian: “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”
September 18, 1978
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Edited by Gay Flood
WORD TO THE WISE
Rodney Dangerfield’s comment “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out” (SCORECARD, Sept. 4) has to be one of the world’s funniest lines. Beneath its comedy, though, there is a telling message about hockey’s unnecessary violence. The National Hockey League should take note.
CLYDE PARTIN JR.