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Maple Ridge enforcer will take part in pay-per-view hockey fights

Amesbury will be in a King of the Rink tournament
Amesbury pre-game with the Tulsa Oilers. (Special to The News)

Ice Wars is putting on a pay-per-view hockey fighting event, and a Maple Ridge man is going to be chucking the knuckles with the meanest goons the promoters can find.

Daniel Amesbury got his start as a Ridge Meadows Flames Junior B enforcer, then took his skills to semi-pro hockey – playing on teams with monikers like the “Cottonmouths” and “Cutthroats” to live up to.

He also had a notorious stint the Maple Ridge Burrards lacrosse team, on one of the WLA’s tougher teams of recent years.

FITE and Hockey Enforcers USA, a live sporting events and production company, got an agreement to stream Ice Wars International’s first event via pay-per-view. Ice Wars is a new combat sport that can best be described as prize fighting on ice. It’s about “taking an age-old part of the game many fans love and making it the main event,” is how the promoters bill it. Ice Wars’ first event will be an eight-man King of the Rink tournament, broadcast live from River Cree Casino in Edmonton, on FITE on May 21.

The top prize will be $15,000.

Amesbury was once known locally as one of the 352 people charged in connection with the 2010 Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver.

“Since then I’ve turned my life around,” said the 31-year-old, who is now the father of a young family.

He has three kids, all under five, and a wife who understands his desire to excel at this controversial side of the national game.

“I’m lucky – she’s very supportive,” he said. “She’s worried, of course.”

He pledged that if he wins the championship prize of $15,000 he will donate funds back to a community cause.

“I’m doing this 100 per cent out of my heart. My focus now is helping people, and my quality of life has increased,” said Amesbury.

“I want to give back.”

He first gained local notoriety with his hometown Flames. He had four goals and 226 penalty minutes in 44 games as a fresh-faced rookie in 2008-2009. The next season, he went full-blown shift disturber. Amesbury brought back memories of the bad old “Jungle B Hockey” days, as he posted a whopping 368 penalty minutes. Notably, he also scored a legit 28 points in 45 games. The next season, he set a Pacific Junior Hockey League league record 413 penalty minutes playing with the Abbotsford Pilots.

Amesbury’s semi-pro career saw him skate with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League, and the Tulsa Oilers and Denver Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League, over three seasons ending in 2013-2014.

Amesbury can’t say he’s won all his bouts – nobody who has enough does, he says.

“But I’ve got all my teeth – I’m pretty proud of that.”

That’ll be put to the test in Edmonton.

A traditional hockey fight is long if it lasts 20 seconds. Ice Wars will see the combatants square off for for two one-minute rounds.

“A minute is going to be wild,” said Amesbury.

He’ll have three fights in an evening.

Amesbury has been working hard on his conditioning, boxing every day, and plans to come into the event a fit 225 pounds, at six feet tall. He says he’s still in his prime as an athlete.

The combatants will be in full gear, on skates, wearing MMA gloves. They will have helmets, for protection in falls, but no visors.

The first Battle of the Hockey Enforcers event was staged in B.C. in 2006. Now, the event’s original organizer, Charlie Nama, has partnered with Ice Wars International head A.J. Galante to produce the first televised Ice Wars.

Galante, a boxing manager and promoter, is the former manager of the Danbury Trashers hockey team, which was chronicled in a recent Netflix documentary, Untold: Crimes and Penalties.

“Ice Wars will not just be one and done,” said Galante. “We’re creating a new combat sport. We are willing to take risks and try innovative ideas, and we will be listening to fans on what’s most important to them. We are a sport, but more importantly, we are entertainment.”

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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