Today in Philly Sports History: Barry Ashbee Suspended Eight Games for Punching Ref, 1973

Today in Philly Sports History: Barry Ashbee Suspended Eight Games for Punching Ref, 1973
February 1, 2010, 4:00 am

Hard as the Broad Street Bullies of the 70s may have been, they usually tended to keep their altercations to the opposing teams and themselves. But every now and then, justice demanded to be meted out to third parties. Barry Ashbee, a reclamation project from the Boston Bruins, had become one of the star defenders for the Flyers in the early 70s, but he was hardly immune from occasionally getting his blood up. When he was handed a tripping minor in a 1973 game against the minors, he jabbed with his stick at referee Bryan Lewis, for which he was given a misconduct. Then, according to the NHL statement,

"As the referee was proceeding to the timekeeper's bench to announce the penalty, Ashbee moved toward him and with his stick still in his hand, struck him with his gloved hand with sufficient force to knock him on the ice and cause a bleeding nose."

Ouch. The league would not take the hit lying down, and on February 1st, 1973, Ashbee was suspended eight games for the incident.

Barry Ashbee would be named to the All-Star second team in 1974, also the year of the Flyers' first-ever Stanley Cup win. Unfortunately, Ashbee would not be on the ice for that Finals series, as he got hit in the eye with a puck during the team's semi-final match against the New York Rangers, an injury that proved to be career-ending. Ashbee was brought on by the Flyers staff as an assistant coach, but tragedy would strike again, as he was diagnosed with leukemia just a few years later. Ashbee died on May 12, 1977.

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