Editor’s Note: Randy Fraser was playing for the Boston Blazers in the 1990s, and when I found the above footage of a CRAZY MILL box lacrosse brawl, I knew I needed to get Randy’s take on the video. It turns out he uploaded it to YouTube, and played in the game, so there really is no one better suited to regale us with a quality story!
The Buffalo Bandits and Philadelphia Wings were the class of the league (then MILL, now NLL) in the 1990s, and taking on either of them in their home barns was always a great challenge. The Bandits were loaded with great box players and coaches, they played physical, smart, tough lacrosse, and they had great finishers. The Bandits entered the league in 1992 and after losing their first 2 games they went on to win 23 straight games, including 2 championships. They had beaten us 3 straight games going into the game above.
All of our (the Boston Blazers) games with the Bandits had a similar script, we hung with them early, and then their skills and grit got them ahead, until we could rally back with our stronger legs and pride, but eventually fall short in the end. However, this time the script changed a bit…
Games against the Bandits were almost always my favorites… They were the players I most respected and I wanted to earn their respect back. I wanted them to respect my team, and our American box players, but most of all, it was personal, I wanted to beat them, make plays against them, take their punishment and not blink. They were the best in my mind – Richie Kilgore, John Tavares, Darris Kilgore, Troy Cordingly, Jim Veltman, and Coach Les Batley. These were the guys I most looked up to after all… All of them future Hall Of Famers as it turns out.
Bandits games were also a hot ticket back then, like they are today. The night in question was standing room only with over 16K in attendance. Our locker room was a ways off from the floor, and we had to go through the crowd and through a tight corridor with insane fans being held back by security gates, banging and yelling at us… It was crazy just getting to the floor. And getting back to our locker room after the brawl was just plain scary.
The game was a back and forth affair, with neither team taking hold of the momentum for long. The mood on the floor was rough but calculated, with the tight score no one wanting to take bad penalties. The Bandits started to get momentum late in the game and we needed a spark. Our goalie Mart O’Neal provided the spark with a great hit on John Tavares on a long outlet pass, almost taking his head off. But it was an awesome hit!
The Bandits went nuts and lost their cool while we stayed focused and kept coming at them. We had learned from the Bandits, and our Canadian teammates, how to play good box lacrosse, how to handle the physical stuff, and stay composed. We ended up ahead by 2 goals late in the game and the Bandits were frantically trying to score but it was a lost cause. As the clock wound down, Tavares takes a dive at Marty’s feet, pokes are exchanged, and the brawl commences… Absolute mayhem on the floor.
The first notable action of the brawl was Rich Kilgore launching Marty into the boards with a full run body blow. Marty looks like he was blasted out of a cannon as he flies through the air, eventually hitting the boards behind the goal. We were all in shock, as you can imagine, as we were not experienced with bench brawls.
I recall thinking, “So… now what?” The answer? Let’s get the heck out of here!
The brawl went on for about 10 minutes with a few notable bouts. Todd Francis vs John Tavares, Bruce Chanenchuck vs Tyson Lies, and Paul Talmo vs Glenn Laye all had good scraps. As far as I can tell to this day, the referees ran off the floor as soon as the brawl started, and the arena’s security had to get us off the floor. As the teams were exiting the floor, a Blazers fan hit the Bandits coaches with a cup, and the Bandits fans in the crowd begin to beat the hell out of him. It was a crazy scene, and one I’ll never forget.
Arriving back to the locker room was great as we just sat and enjoyed the feeling of what we had accomplished and how sweet it was. The brawl just added to the enjoyment really.
EN: As a bonus, below you can find some highlights from the Blazers and Bandits from 1992. At the 1:55 mark John Tavares levels Randy into the boards. Oh, and yes, Randy is wearing is a visor. Man, those guys were cool! If you have a great fight video, or Old School highlights, and you want to put down YOUR thoughts, we’d love to share it! Hit us up in the Community section to get noticed!