Maple Ridge’s Daniel Amesbury was crowned King of the Rink at a Saturday pay-per-view battle of hockey enforcers in Edmonton.
Amesbury outpunched Oshawa, Ontario’s Justin Sawyer, who had boasted before his bout with Amesbury that he had never been taken down in a hockey fight.
One online account of the finale described a melee where both helmets went flying, with the smaller Amesbury landing multiple punches until the two combatants crashed into the boards and the referee declared a TKO.
On getting the crown, Amesbury said that in his head, he had already won the event, two weeks earlier.
Ice Wars’eight-man King of the Rink tournament, broadcast live from River Cree Casino in Edmonton, on FITE on May 21, offered a top prize of $15,000.
Ice Wars was described by the organizers as a new combat sport that can best be described as prize fighting on ice – “taking an age-old part of the game many fans love and making it the main event.”
Amesbury got his start as a Ridge Meadows Flames Junior B enforcer, then took his skills to semi-pro hockey.
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.
He also earned a reputation as a brawler playing Lacrosse, with the Maple Ridge Burrards, earning a seven-game suspension in 2016.
Amesbury can’t say he’s won all his bouts, “but I’ve got all my teeth – I’m pretty proud of that.”
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.
He pledged to 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.”
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