Bari McKenzie should have left Fife Ice Arena on a high on Sunday after scoring a crucial game-winning goal against Manchester Storm.
But the Fife Flyers forward admitted that the ugly scenes which followed the post-game handshakes left a sour taste in his mouth.
McKenzie has been involved in the professional game for 16 years and admits he has never seen anything like it.
“It kind of overshadowed our victory,” he said.
“I thought we played really well, but what happened afterwards was a joke.
“There’s no need for it and it shouldn’t be in hockey any more.
“It was shocking, but it could have been a lot worse.
“There was really only the Stoflet fight that broke out, but a lot more could have happened if guys in our team had been willing to fight, because that’s all they were looking to do.
“Manchester have built this reputation as being a big tough team, and I’m friendly on a personal note with a lot of their guys, and I know they wouldn’t have done that.
“You could say it was classless, but it was only a select few that started it and it’s unfortunate that the reputation of the whole club is getting battered with the same brush.”
McKenzie was involved in a conversation with the Storm head coach when the incident started, and having previously worked under Ryan Finnerty at Glasgow Clan for two years, the forward had some sympathy with his former boss.
“Finner might get in trouble for not controlling his bench, but he didn’t tell them to do it,” he said.
“We were actually talking at the time and having a joke because I scored the winner. We looked at each other and his face just dropped.
“I think he’ll be disappointed with what happened. I don’t think he would have went in the room afterwards and praised them, that’s for sure.
“The statement that came out after the game was maybe him realising, ‘we’re in trouble here’, and trying to put a different take on it. He has to look after his team at the end of the day .
“He knows they are in a play-off push and if they get four or five guys suspended, which they should do, he’ll know they are in trouble.
“It was a select few guys that started the mayhem and you can actually see them during the brawl still trying to instigate stuff.
“There’s absolutely no need for it whatsoever and hopefully DOPS come out with the right punishment.”
Flyers defenceman Evan Stoflet suffered a concussion in the post-match brawl while Scott Aarssen and Paul Crowder were also injured during the game.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know how long guys are going to be out for,” McKenzie said.
“It was a physical game and if guys get hurt when teams are playing fair and physical you can accept it.
“But not when they are getting hurt the way they did. One was after the game was finished, and for Crowder’s one you can clearly see him getting kicked in the head.
“There’s no need for that any more in this day and age in hockey.”
Despite all the attention on the post-game altercations, McKenzie was still delighted to have played a big part in the team’s victory.
“I started playing with Crowder and Finucci and we were playing really well until Crowder got hurt and the lines got jumbled about,” he said.
“When jumped on and saw Cazza had the puck I just thought, ‘I’m going to the net’.
“Sometimes when you’re not scoring as much as you’d like you have to just go to the net, that’s where stuff happens, and that’s what I done.
“I tucked it away and was mobbed by the boys on the ice, which was nice.”
The goal was McKenzie’s fourth of the season, and he hopes to add a few more to his tally before the end of the campaign.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I would’ve liked to have scored more this year,” he said.
“We’ve got 17 games left and hopefully I can help the team as much as I can going into play-offs.
“Personally I’ve not been to a play off weekend so I want to go, see it, play in it and hopefully try and win it.”