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Who is the only NHL player to be banned for life?

Let's find out who's been the most violent player in the National Hockey League (NHL) history.

Billy Coutu

The National Hockey League (NHL) is known for its aggressive and high contact plays. However, there have been times when such moves turn to violence that put other players or referees in danger and the accused often face suspension at the hands of the league.

For those who don’t know, Canadian hockey player Wilfrid Arthur “Billy” Coutu, aka “Wild Beaver” is the only NHL player to be suspended from league play for life. Let’s find out the reason behind such an extreme decision against Billy Coutu.

The incident took place back in 1927 at the Stanley Cup in Canada. After losing the final match to the Ottawa Senators in 1927, Billy Coutu (captain of the Boston Bruins) assaulted referee Jerry Laflamme and tackled referee Billy Bell. He further went on to start a brawl so severe that he was hit with a life ban from the NHL. Though the ban was ultimately lifted several years later, Coutu never played with the NHL again.

Who’s Billy Coutu?

Billy Coutu was a professional ice hockey defenceman who played in as many as ten seasons in the National Hockey League. He was associated with the Montreal Canadiens and the Hamilton Tigers before finally moving to the Boston Bruins.

Apart from the infamous 1927 Stanley Cup incident, the Ontario native Coutu was caught in several other controversies as well. In January 1928, he was suspended by the C-AHL for hitting George Redding of Boston with his stick during a match. 

His association with brawls and disputes didn’t end here as he was later ejected from the C-AHL game for abusing referee Jack Cameron in 1935. It won’t be wrong to say that Billy Coutu has been one of the most controversial names in the history of ice hockey.

Also Read | Who was the first coloured player to play in NHL? And why was his jersey retired by the Bruins?