Good Friday Massacre
123 Total
Quebec Nordiques 102 3
Montreal Canadiens 005 5
DateApril 20, 1984
ArenaMontreal Forum
CityMontreal, Quebec

In ice hockey, the Good Friday Massacre (French: la bataille du Vendredi saint)[1][2] was a second-round playoff match-up during the 1984 Stanley Cup playoffs. The game occurred on Good Friday, April 20, 1984 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, between the Quebec Nordiques and the Montreal Canadiens. It is notable less for its series-ending finish than its epic brawl between the players, which spanned multiple periods and resulted in 11 ejections and 252 penalty minutes.[3] It was the most infamous episode of the Battle of Quebec.


The Montreal Canadiens, five years removed from their dynasty of the 1970s, had regressed in the five years since their then-most-recent championship in 1979. After being eliminated in the second round of the 1980 playoffs by the Minnesota North Stars, the Canadiens did not win another playoff series for the next three years. In 1981, the Habs suffered an embarrassing three-game sweep against the Edmonton Oilers to become the first NHL team to lose a playoff series to a former World Hockey Association team. The next year their new provincial rivals from the WHA stunned the Canadiens by winning the fifth and deciding game in the first playoff series between the two provincial rivals, while 1983 brought another first round sweep for Montreal at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.

The Quebec Nordiques meanwhile had steadily improved in the five years since joining the NHL as part of the NHL-WHA merger. Quebec reached the playoffs in only their second NHL season and after that did not post a losing season until 1987. Although they narrowly failed to get past the powerful Philadelphia Flyers in their first NHL playoff series, the following year saw the aforementioned upset against Montreal followed by another upset against the Boston Bruins. After being swept by the New York Islanders who were then in the middle of their own championship dynasty, the Nordiques met the Bruins once again the following year, this time losing 3–1 in the first round.

The Canadiens regressed further in 1984, playing around .500 hockey for most of the season. Replacing coach Bob Berry with the defensively-minded Jacques Lemaire did not initially improve the club's fortunes, and the team ended up losing its last six regular season games to finish with its first losing record in the expansion era. However, under the relatively easy playoff format of the time it was still good enough to qualify since the Canadiens finished 11 points ahead of the last place Hartford Whalers. Quebec meanwhile finished with its best NHL record to that point in its history, although its 94 points was still only good enough for third place behind the Bruins and Sabres. However, both Quebec teams stunned their first round opposition with three game sweeps, setting up an unexpected rematch between them for the second round.

The provincial rivals split the first two games in Quebec as well as the next two in Montreal. The Canadiens shut out the Nordiques 4–0 at the Colisée de Québec to give themselves the chance to eliminate the Nordiques at the Forum.

Game play

After a number of fights, a bench-clearing brawl broke out as the siren sounded to end the second period.[4] Amongst the fourteen altercations at the end of the second period[5] were the Canadiens' Mario Tremblay smashing the nose of the Nordiques' Peter Stastny, and Nordiques' Louis Sleigher knocking Canadiens' Jean Hamel unconscious by sucker-punching him in the eye.[3] Bruce Hood, the referee for the game, sent the teams off the ice without officially ending the second period by assigning penalties for the brawl.

After the intermission, with all players from both teams on the ice to warm up for the third period, a second brawl broke out. The public address announcer started reading the penalty summary as the players warmed up, and as players heard the confirmation that they were to be ejected from the game anyway, some felt they "might as well take some guys with (them)" (per Larry Robinson), as "they had nothing to lose" (per Guy Carbonneau).[3] In particular, the Canadiens players went after the Nordiques' Louis Sleigher, furious with him for the damage he had inflicted on Jean Hamel in the original brawl.[3] The second brawl included a fight between brothers Dale Hunter (Nordiques) and Mark Hunter (Canadiens).[3]

The officials had to be summoned to the ice to restore order; Bruce Hood was roundly criticized for his handling of the situation.[6] Hood had failed to "complete" the second period by informing the time keeper and the head coaches as to what penalties had been assigned, including which players (including Sleigher) had been ejected from the game and should not return to the ice for the third period.[6] Hood retired after the playoffs that year, doing so amidst speculation that his retirement occurred at the behest of the NHL.[7]

A total of 252 penalty minutes were incurred and 11 players were (belatedly) ejected.[3] Hamel managed to return for training camp in the autumn of 1984, but sustained another eye injury in Montreal's October 4 pre-season game, prompting him to retire.[8][9][10]


When the brawl took place, the Canadiens were trailing 1–0. After surrendering one more goal to Quebec just over two minutes into the third period, Montreal scored five consecutive goals, eventually defeating the Nordiques 5–3, thereby winning the series 4 games to 2.[3] However, the Canadiens were defeated in the Prince of Wales Conference Finals by the New York Islanders in six games.

Game summary

April 20, 1984 Quebec Nordiques 3–5 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap

Scoring summary
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st QUE Peter Šťastný (2) (PP) Jean-François Sauvé (1), Anton Šťastný (4) 5:12 1–0 QUE
3rd QUE Michel Goulet (2) (PP)   2:02 2–0 QUE
MTL Steve Shutt (3) Bobby Smith (2), Pierre Mondou (2) 6:23 2–1 QUE
MTL Steve Shutt (4) Mats Näslund (6) 9:11 2–2
MTL Rick Green (1) Bobby Smith (3) 12:14 3–2 MTL
MTL John Chabot (1) Guy Lafleur (2), Mats Näslund (2) 13:27 4–2 MTL
MTL Guy Carbonneau (3) Ryan Walter (2) 14:28 5–2 MTL
QUE Wilf Paiement (3) Jean-François Sauvé (2), Alain Côté (2) 16:51 5–3 MTL
Number in parenthesis represents the player's total in goals or assists to that point of the playoffs
Penalty summary
Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM
1st QUE Wilf Paiement Fighting 0:23 5:00
MTL Mike McPhee Fighting 0:23 5:00
QUE Michel Goulet Holding 2:48 2:00
MTL Bobby Smith Slashing 2:48 2:00
MTL Craig Ludwig Tripping 4:18 2:00
MTL Jean Hamel Illegal stick 5:01 2:00
QUE Wally Weir Charging 9:51 2:00
QUE Blake Wesley Holding 11:52 2:00
QUE Pat Price Slashing 17:23 2:00
MTL Chris Nilan Elbowing 17:23 2:00
QUE Mario Marois Slashing 20:00 2:00
2nd QUE Michel Goulet Holding 3:52 2:00
MTL Chris Chelios Roughing 15:20 2:00
QUE Dale Hunter Roughing 15:20 2:00
QUE Dale Hunter Roughing 17:39 2:00
MTL Rick Green Roughing 17:39 2:00
QUE Anton Šťastný Fighting 17:59 5:00
MTL Craig Ludwig Fighting 17:59 5:00
QUE André Doré Interference 19:44 2:00
MTL Bobby Smith Interference 19:48 2:00
QUE Dale Hunter Roughing (double minor), Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 19:00
MTL Guy Carbonneau Roughing 20:00 2:00
MTL Mark Hunter Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
MTL Jean Hamel Roughing 20:00 2:00
MTL Mike McPhee Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
MTL Mario Tremblay Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
MTL Richard Sévigny Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
QUE Wally Weir Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
QUE Peter Šťastný Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
QUE Louis Sleigher Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
QUE Clint Malarchuk Fighting, Game misconduct 20:00 15:00
QUE Randy Moller Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 20:00 25:00
MTL Chris Nilan Fighting (double major), Misconduct, Game misconduct 20:00 30:00
3rd QUE Michel Goulet Tripping 6:46 2:00
Three star selections
Team Player Statistics
1st MTL Steve Shutt 2 Goals
2nd MTL Mats Näslund 1 Assist
3rd MTL Chris Chelios


It was broadcast on CBC Television and Télévision de Radio-Canada in Canada, and on the USA Network in the United States.

Channel Play-by-play Color Commentators
CBC Bob Cole Mickey Redmond
Dick Irvin Jr. (first 2 periods)
Don Cherry (3rd period)
Radio-Canada René Lecavalier Gilles Tremblay
USA Al Albert Gary Green


  1. ^ Club de hockey Canadien, Inc. (2009). "La bataille du Vendredi Saint". Site historique des Canadiens de Montréal (in French). Club de hockey Canadien, Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  2. ^ Fontaine, Patrice (2009). "Bataille du Vendredi saint - événements". Dictionnaire Des Sports Du Québec. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Zarum, Dave. "Good Friday Massacre: An Oral History of One of the Greatest Games in NHL History". Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  4. ^ Wilner, Barry (21 April 1984). "Canadiens survive Nordiques, Brawls". Youngstown Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. p. 15. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  5. ^ YouTube video of the brawls as they unfolded on YouTube
  6. ^ a b Farber, Michael (21 April 1984). "Forum brawl disgraced game". The Gazette. Montreal. p. D1. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  7. ^ "A good ol' hockey fight relived". courtesy of Sports Central. 2003-04-28. Archived from the original on 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  8. ^ Phillips, Randy (6 October 1984). "Injured Hamel to miss start of season". The Gazette. Montreal. p. F3. Retrieved 6 April 2012..
  9. ^ "Hamel retires, but gets new contract". The Gazette. Montreal. 21 December 1984. p. D1.
  10. ^ "Centenary of brutality". Vancouver Sun. Vancouver, B.C. January 12, 2007. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
External video
video icon 1984 Battle of Quebec on YouTube