The next guy I will focus on will be a minor league legend. I've never done a profile solely on a non NHL player and this was difficult because I had less information, footage and articles... But with the NHL not playing and my desire to see some lesser known guys get some much deserved accolades, here's my tribute to Frank "the Animal" Bialowas.
Bialowas was born September 25, 1970 in the tough guy producing city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Other than Saskatoon, Winnipeg may have produced the most tough guys. Frank Bialowas
played his minor-league hockey in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Kildonan North Stars and the Winkler Flyers. Bialowas has always played an aggressive style when on the ice and he earned the nickname "Animal" from his fellow players for his antics on and off the ice. Here's a fight from that time period, watch a young Animal try to bash an opponents head off the glass:
Like Darren Langdon, Bialowas went directly from tier two Junior to the East Coast Hockey League and played with Roanoke for part of a season. During this time period Bialowas had a wild swinging brawl of a fight against Richie Walcott that featured him headbutting Walcott:**
1992-1993: During the off season, Bialowas joined the Richmond Renegades and played most of the season there. One of the major highlights of that time period was his rematch with Walcott. Was another wild fight with Walcott throwing a couple late shots and kicking at Bialowas. Video can be found here: http://www.nhlfightclub.com/videos/18142/frank-bi
Bialowas than signed with the St Johns Maple Leafs at the end of the season, playing In only 7 games, but in his first fight with St Johns, he took on Dale Kushner and they had a nice toe to toe battle... With one guy on the ice and one guy in the penalty box!!! Both guys were ejected on the play.
1993-1994: this would be a huge year for Bialowas as he would establish himself as one of the toughest players in the toughest leagues in the world. Here he is taking on Serge Roberge
, basically jumping the Surgeon.
The Animal than took on another legend in Link Gaetz
and the Missing Link took him apart, here's the clip:
Bialowas went on to drop Ed Kastelic with some beauty rights that showed his power. Also knocked down Jeff Chychrun
and wailed on him while he was down and compromised. Next up on the Animal's list would be Doug "the**Thug" Smith who wrote "Goon" and had this to say about their fight:
It wasn't until the 1993-94 season that Smith got his big break, with a call-up for his first game in the American Hockey League with the Moncton Hawks. There he took on the AHL's reigning heavyweight champ, Frank "The Animal" Bialowas, who was fresh off a stint in the NHL with Toronto, where he had fought Tony Twist and Tie Domi.
Smith readily admits he came in second in that bout with Bialowas, but it still represented the highpoint of his career.
"People always ask me what was the best fight you ever had and what was the worst fight you ever had, and I tell them it was the same fight," Smith said. "My best fight was against Frank Bialowas. He gave me the opportunity to fight in the American Hockey League when I got called up to Moncton.
"I started off pretty good, but he was a strong guy and I lost my grip on his right arm and he tagged me with two or three shots," Smith continued. "I think the thing I was most grateful for was that I was able to take a good punch. I definitely took four or five straight, hard shots, but I was happy I didn't go down. I took the punches and skated off. I went in for repairs and took eight or nine stitches over my eye, and it was glorious. It didn't matter that I lost the fight. I was there. I had made it to the American Hockey League, the second-best league in the world. And just a couple of years before that, I was skating on ponds."
Bialowas than took on a young Reid Simpson
and really thumped him. The Animal hit Simpson with about half a dozen short rights and Simpson was clearly hurt. Bialowas' next victim would be Sean O'Donnell
, and this was another fight where Bialowas clearly hurt an opponent. They had a fair square off at center ice, took off the helmets and went. Clear win Bialowas. Bialowas went on to have a three fight game in PEI and going by memory he beat up Kevin MacDonald badly. Took another win over a clearly overmatched Chris Rowland before having a nice fight with Darcy Simon. I called that one an edge for Bialowas. Bialowas would go on to have a two fight game against Fredericton where he destroyed Jason Downey, and had a wrestling match with who other than Brashear? Here's the Downey fight:
Bialowas would finish his AHL season with a win over Frank Kovacs before being called up to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and once he was up, fought two of the all time best in Tony Twist
and Tie Domi
, here are the clips:
I've always read that Bialowas said that he caught Twist with a shot and that Twist didn't want to fight after that, I'd say he's right after watching the replay. Tough balance in the Domi fight.
Frank "the Animal" Bialowas would start the season off with a win over another minor league legend, Dennis Bonvie. Two tough guys, who made it only on fighting, went at it hard with Bialowas taking the decision here's the fight:
Bialowas went on to have a two fight game Against PEI, where he beat the piss out of Bruce Ramsay before losing a decision to the much bigger Frankie Leroux. Leroux just used his size effectively altough Bialowas certainly held his own, I remember Leroux was hurt on the play. The Animal than tried Chris Murray
but I don't have the fight and I can't find it or any results on it anywhere. Any info on this would be appreciated!**Went on to have two uninspired fights with Brashear who didn't seem interested, before destroying poor Paxton Schulte in a linebrawl. Bialowas took his own helmet off, and went right after Schulte who was backing up as quick as he could. Bialowas landed a few punches before mercifully holding back. Could have really hurt him. Bialowas would beat Clayton Norris before finishing the season off with two absolutely fantastic fights with Gerry Fleming
of the Fredericton Canadiens.
Signed with Portland during the off season and opened the season up with a two fight game with Phil Crowe
and Clayton Norris, no footage of this, any info would be appreciated. Went on to really work Eric Bertrand
, knocking him down twice with big rights. Vicious power shown there. Went on to beat Mike Harding, Kevin Sawyer
and Eric Montreuil before completely destroying Jason Marshall
in a beat down. Marshall was getting the better of their exchange before Bialowas came on and landed right after right. Marshall had to be saved by a teammate and was in a bad spot hurt. Brutal beating. Went on to have a two fight game against McAllister and John Badduke. The Badduke fight was a beauty, nice even square off, both guys took off their helmets, and chucked bombs. Bialowas landed the better shots and looked to have Badduke on the ropes but Badduke came back and landed some big lefts. Good fight. Beat Denny Lambert
before finishing the season with two draws against Kevin Sawyer