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Legends of Team Canada: Steve Nemeth

The 1987 World Juniors are the most famous (perhaps I should say infamous) in tournament history. It will forever be remembered for the brawl featured below - The Punch Up In Piestany.

The bench clearing brawl saw eternal rivals Canada and the Soviet Union disqualified from the entire tournament, likely costing Canada a gold medal.

The 20 minute long event spurred one of the most popular books of the 2006 season. Gare Joyce filled over 350 pages in his text When The Lights Went Out.

The most interesting story in the book is that of Steve Nemeth. Nemeth is a little remembered forward on loan from the Canadian Olympic team. Nemeth did not even fight, yet all players in the game were suspended from all IIHF events for 18 months. Nemeth would lose his spot in the Olympic training program and ending his dream of playing in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.

Nemeth was one of quite a few players from this Team Canada who did not have grand NHL careers that you would expect the top 20 Canadian junior players from any year to have. Scott Metcalfe, Everett Sanipass, Yvon Corriveau, Chris Joseph, Stephane Roy and goaltenders Shawn Simpson and Jimmy Waite were all footnotes in NHL history.

Nemeth, a WHL graduate, would turn pro that 1987-88 season and for the next two seasons he would apprentice in the minor leagues. He did get called up to the New York Rangers for 12 games and even scored 2 goals, but he was never to return.

Nemeth would play for Dave King's Canadian national team for the next three seasons before elongating his hockey career in Britain for most of the 1990s.


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