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May 26, 2024

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THE TOUGHEST GMS IN THE NHL

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Many NHL general managers have a history that might surprise you – they were no strangers to throwing punches during their playing days. While their on-ice skills as executives are well-known, it’s fascinating to discover that some of them had formidable fighting abilities in their earlier careers, even in the minor leagues and WHL where physical confrontations were commonplace. Let’s take a closer look at some of the NHL’s toughest GMs based on their playing days.

BILL ARMSTRONG, ARIZONA COYOTES

THE TOUGHEST GMS IN THE NHL


Standing tall at 6-foot-5 and weighing 220 pounds, Armstrong made a name for himself as a tenacious defenseman in the AHL and IHL for nearly a decade. His most formidable display came in the 1994-95 season, during which he recorded an impressive 244 penalty minutes while playing for the Providence Bruins. This marked his third consecutive year with over 200 penalty minutes, showcasing his willingness to stand his ground. Here’s a clip of Armstrong taking on tough opponent Terry Ryan:
ROB BLAKE, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Rob Blake not only secured a spot in the Hall of Fame as a defenseman but also earned a Stanley Cup championship. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-3 and weighing 222 pounds, Blake was a force to be reckoned with on the ice. Despite not frequently engaging in fights during his NHL career, his reputation and physical prowess made opponents think twice before challenging him. Many players were understandably reluctant to drop their gloves against him.

JIM NILL, DALLAS STARS
Jim Nill’s fighting style during the 1980s was nothing short of impressive, characterized by his composed demeanor even during intense bouts. Notably strong and skilled on defense, Nill showed remarkable resilience by calmly enduring punches. He was akin to the T-1000, absorbing hits without flinching, showcasing his unwavering determination and toughness.

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