Michigan natives Dylan Larkin and Zach Werenski are longtime friends who played on the same youth hockey teams together since they were 10 years old. Monday, the two played each other in the NHL at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena – one a captain of the Red Wings and the other a star defenseman for the Blue Jackets. Larkin even left tickets for Werenski’s parents so they could attend the game.
They fought each other in the third period.
Larkin and Werenski’s fight happened after a controversial goal late in the third period. Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan scored with 57 seconds left after Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo got bowled over in the net. After some pushing and shoving in the crease occurred, a brawl broke out among the players on the ice.
Larkin and Werenski grabbed each other and traded several punches before the fight was broken up by an official.
Noted best friends Dylan Larkin and Zach Werenski drop the gloves (while Bobby Ryan finds a dancing partner in the background). Pandemonium in Detroit. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/8jcEhJNToR
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) January 18, 2021
The University of Michigan, where the two friends were teammates, excitedly tweeted about the bout.
Dylan Larkin and Zach Werenski going at it!
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 18, 2021
Werenski literally went to the college because Larkin did.
“I always knew Dylan was coming here, and I liked Michigan,” said Werenski. “It definitely helps to have someone who’s that close of a friend and to be in the room with him. They told me that was one of the options before I came here. They said, ‘You can room with Dylan if you want.’ That definitely made it easier, and I was happy about that.”
After Monday’s game, Werenski admitted the two laughed when they realized who they were fighting.
Werenski says he was aware of his role in Detroit’s second goal. “In the moment, I was just playing hockey, and I saw someone touch my goalie…”
Realized it was Larkin right away, had a laugh, but neither player held back he said. #CBJ
— Alison (@AlisonL) January 18, 2021
Zach Werenski on his scrap with childhood friend Dylan Larkin, who left Z tickets for his parents today: "I didn't get hit, so I'll take it as a win."
Werenski said the buddies were kind of laughing during it, but he was trying to win the fight. His phone is blowing up now. #CBJ
— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) January 18, 2021
The two friends first played each other in the NHL in December 2016.
“We had a lot of games played together, first time ever playing against him,” Larkin said then to NHL.com. “It goes way back to when we started playing together when we were about 10 years old. He was a year younger than I was, played for Belle Tire and I think we played together until we were 18 years old and in college. We were roommates, we’re great friends… I’m excited to see him out here.”
The fight is reminiscent of a goalie fight Olie Kolzig had with longtime friend Byron Dafoe in the 90s. Kolzig was once the best man in Dafoe’s wedding.
Screenshot courtesy of Fox
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