Everyone loves a good fight. In fact, some people consider fighting to be the highlight of any hockey game! If you're one of those people, there’s a new and emerging sport that’s growing in popularity in North America that's perfect for you: "Ice Wars".
Ice Wars sees fighters battle it out in hockey style fights. Similar to MMA, it's round based fighting, with two one-minute rounds being held. If the scoring is tied after two rounds, a third round is held. Local professional hockey player Justin Schmit has recently been crowned the first ever Cruiserweight 'King of the Rink', and he explains that even though Ice Wars is hockey style fighting, it's not exactly the same as you would see in a game.
“In a hockey fight a lot of times you obviously don't know (when it will happen). A lot of times they happened spur of the moment, but this you know. I knew all the guys that were in my bracket and you kind of had the little bit of anticipated build up to it,” he said.
Schmit earned his crown in front of thousands of fans. At the main event on August 6th the venue of 2,500 fans was sold out.
“They did really well on pay-per-view sales from what I've gathered, so hopefully they can keep building and growing,” he said.
Schmit plays hockey in the US Federal Hockey League In Columbus, Georgia, and says Ice Wars has been on his mind for a while.
“I’ve known AJ Galante (Ice Wars president) for a long time. Around Christmas time last year AJ and I started talking about the possibility of putting one of these events on. I was still down in the States when they had one back in May, the first one, and then when I got back up here early July AJ called me.”
He let Schmit know they were hosting another event in Enoch, Alberta in August, where Schmit earned himself the crown.
“It worked out pretty good, just time wise. Obviously, I was fortunate enough to come away with the win,” he said.
Leading up to the fight, Schmit trained on the ice in the summer, and also worked on his boxing with the Olympus Boxing Club in Chestermere.
He’s already signed a contract with BKFC, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in Mississippi, so it looks like he’s going to be busy on and off the ice.
Schmit now hopes he can continue with the sport and someday soon defend his title.
He said there are rumours of an event in Tampa Bay, Florida, Biloxi, Mississippi or maybe even Las Vegas, Nevada.
“It's still up in the air right now. where and when the next event is going to be held, but I definitely plan on being a part of it,” he said.
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