1996-1997: The Animal started the season off with a win over Steve Webb
, before pounding out another decisive victory, this time over Mike Hartman
n. They were lined up opposite of each other and they didn't even wait for the puck to drop before shedding the mitts. Borderline TKO win, here's the clip:
The Animal than took on Wade Belak (rip) and it was a short vicious wild swinging fight. I called it a draw, here's the clip:
The next victim for Bialowas would be Justjn Hocking. Twice. They dropped the gloves and Hocking is clearly a little nervous and keeps backing away. Bialowas is moving forward stalking his prey and engages and just drops him with a short flurry of haymakers for the TKO win. Also fought a couple days later during a brawl with Bialowas taking the decision again. The Animal's next victim would be John Badduke and he just wailed on him. Punished him with rights till he went down. To give Badduke credit he got up but Bialowas fed him again. Another big beating, here's the clip:
Bialowas was then involved in a two fight game against Carolina where he fought Gairin Smith twice. The first fight was pretty even but than Smith kind of threw/tackled Bialowas to the ice and threw some cheap shots while he was down. The Animal was pissed and went looking for revenge later and got it, beating Smith in a fight than pounding him while he was down and hurting Smith. This touched off a brawl. In yet another brawl, Bialowas started mixing it up in front of the net against Hershey and this brought in everyone. Bialowas got the better of someone although there was plenty of interference, than was later suckered by Cory Banika. Here's the clip, watch Banika hide after the sucker shot:
Went on to have wins over Lance Brady, Mark D'Amour, and Trevor Doyle before fighting John Craighead. No info on that one, I'd appreciate anything results wise.
The Animal started off the year with a nice fight Marc Moro
, here's the clip:
Went on to take wins over Barry Nieckar
and Sasha Lakovic
before trying to get some revenge on Cory Banika for his cheapshot last year and an elbow that Banika had caught him with.... Bialowas nailed him with a couple shots before Banika ran for cover again. Out of this Belak and Bialowas ended up fighting, here's the clip:
Bialowas was than involved in a brawl filled game against Hershey - check out the boxscore!
Hershey 0 1 0--1
Philadelphia 2 5 2--9
FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Philadelphia, Forbes 7 (Heward, Healey),
4:18. 2, Philadelphia, Druce 1 (Coles), 18:18. Penalties: Coles, Phi
(slashing), 1:04; Heward, Phi (cross checking), 2:06; Sarault, Her
(interference), 2:15; Lingren, Her (roughing), 2:19; Montgomery, Phi
(elbowing major), 3:04; Mccosh, Phi (roughing), 4:19; Corcoran, Her
(misconduct), 8:26; Banika, Her (instigator, fighting major, misconduct,
game misconduct), 8:26; Mcdonald, Her (fighting major, game misconduct),
8:26; Richardson, Her (roughing, misconduct), 8:26; Simon, Her (fighting
major), 8:26; Delmore, Phi (misconduct), 8:26; Mccosh, Phi (fighting
major), 8:26; Bialowas, Phi (fighting major, game misconduct), 8:26;
Macisaac, Phi (fighting major), 8:26; Hallman, Her (slashing), 10:28;
Payette, Phi (hooking), 15:24; Montgomery, Phi ( double spearing minor),
SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 3, Philadelphia, Heward 3 (unassisted), 6:22.
4, Philadelphia, Montgomery 5 (Heward), 11:34. 5, Philadelphia, Healey 7
(Darby, Brimanis), 11:57. 6, Philadelphia, Delmore 4 (power play)
(Little), 17:25. 7, Hershey, Mchugh 4 (shorthanded) (unassisted), 17:43.
8, Philadelphia, Druce 2 (power play) (Maneluk, Darby), 18:25. Penalties:
Niemenen, Her (roughing), 10:53; Druce, Phi (roughing), 10:53; Richardson,
Her (roughing major, game misconduct), 13:30; Matte, Her (slashing),
17:00; Heward, Phi (roughing), 19:49.
THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 9, Philadelphia, Darby 6 (Montgomery, Maneluk),
3:59. 10, Philadelphia, Mccosh 7 (shorthanded) (Forbes), 6:05. Penalties:
Simon, Her (fighting major), 1:02; Macisaac, Phi (fighting major), 1:02;
Staples, Phi (roughing), 5:15; Macisaac, Phi (slashing), 6:33; Corcoran,
Her (hooking), 9:12; Payette, Phi (hooking), 9:22; Philadelphia bench,
served by Maneluk (too many men on the ice), 12:30; Matte, Her (roughing),
13:30; Veilleux, Her (game misconduct), 13:30; Stevens, Phi (roughing),
13:30; Healey, Phi (roughing), 13:30; Mchugh, Her (high sticking, fighting
major), 13:51; Lingren, Her (fighting major, game misconduct), 13:51;
Simon, Her (fighting major, double game misconduct), 13:51; Payette, Phi
(high sticking, fighting major, game misconduct), 13:51; Mccosh, Phi
(fighting major, game misconduct), 13:51; Staples, Phi (fighting major,
game misconduct), 13:51; Little, Phi (goalie leave crease), 13:52; Larsen,
Her (misconduct), 15:44.
Awesome!!! Would love to see the highlights of this one! What's crazy is that they played not long after and they had two linebrawls in the same game and Bialowas fought in both against the same guy! Martin Lamarche! I gave the decision to Bialowas in the first brawl and he was winning the second one before he ate two or three huge shots to take a rare loss. Entertaining games, I'd say the fans got their moneys worth!! The Animal would go on to beat Lamarche again. Take a decision over Him and than had wins over Nieckar, Jason Simon, and Mike Hulbert before fighting Aaron Downey
and getting another solid win, here's the clip:
Bialowas than beat Hugues Gervais, Martin Laitre and fought Peter Worrell
but I can't find that one. Beat Clint Collins twice in back to back weeks and than fought Sasha Lakovic
in another linebrawl. Beat Cunnif but than took a loss to another minor league legend Rob Skrlac
. Next up would be a two fight game against Marc Major, and one was a beauty, here's the clip:
Dody Wood found out the hard way you don't mess with The Animal, here's the clip:
The Animal would end off the season with three great fights against another AHL legend in Rocky Thompson
. Here are the 3 fights, enjoy:
This would be The Animal's last season in Philadelphia and he started off with a draw with**Terry Ryan in a good fight. Than beat Gordie Kinnear before taking on Skrlac. Again. In another beauty. Great toe to toe exchange and it seemed to last forever until Skrlac took over and landed a couple more shots.
This would be the final season in the AHL for Bialowas and he to Philadelphia's arch rival, the Hershey Bears. Bialowas started off with a win over Trevor Doyle before popping and dropping Francis Lessard
with a big right. One of the few fights that ever occurred while another player was scoring! Went on to beat John Jakopin
and Darren Van Oene
, before losing to Eric Boulton
. Bialowas' second last fight as an AHL player was against Christian Gosselin. Bialowas actually tells his rookie teammate to move and switches wings to get at Gosselin. The puck drops and he
Bialowas dropped Gosselin hard, here's the clip:
Over the years I've always read that the night before his wedding Bialowas was out partying pretty hard and ended up in a wild brawl against some tough characters. Apparently Bialowas got whacked in the face with a Stop Sign. Apparently both of his eyes were black for his wedding.
Here's an article that talks about Bialowas days as a boxer and AHL enforcer:
There was no question that former hockey pro Frank Bialowas had the temperament--and perhaps, more importantly, the pain threshold--to be a professional boxer.
How could a man affectionately called "The Animal" not be at home in such brutal surroundings as a boxing ring? Yet, that didn't stop many from questioning Bialowas' ability to handle the squared circle. Jarad Vasquez, however, is no longer among those expressing any such reservations. In fact, Vasquez--the opponent in Bialowas' professional boxing debut--was in no condition to be asking questions of any kind after absorbing a knockout-inducing, three-punch barrage from Bialowas just 56 seconds into their scheduled four-round fight in the heavyweight division.
"I was surprised the guy came after me like that," said Bialowas, who played for the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms and settled in South Jersey after retiring from the sport. "I thought he would try to stay away from me and make me box. But, from what I could see, his corner wanted him on top of me. I guess they saw my hockey tapes and thought I couldn't fight going backward. That was a bad decision on their part."
And, their decision directly led to one of the high points of Bialowas' impressive sporting career. "I played professional hockey for a long time and had a lot of fun doing that, but [the debut boxing match] was one of the biggest thrills of my life," he said. "Your adrenaline's running so high and you hear the people screaming when you knock the guy down. It's just such a rush."
That punching power, displayed in a staccato burst of devastating hooks that sent Vasquez spiraling to the canvas and struggling to regain his feet well after being counted out by referee Shawn Clark, has been how Bialowas has made his living for nearly two decades. "I'm a hell of a fighter," says the 34-year-old, his matter-of-fact tone bereft of any bravado. "Street. Hockey. Whatever. Put me in a 10x10 room with anybody and I'll probably be the one walking out the other end."
His trainer, the legendary Augie Scimeca, has seen a number of boxers in his day. Still, Scimeca marvels at the punching power his pupil can generate from his 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame.
"He is a powerful puncher," says Scimeca. "He still has things he needs to improve, but he has the tools to get better." Generally, such an aptitude for mayhem is frowned upon by society. Unless, of course, you find an outlet for such naked aggression. Bialowas, being a good Canadian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, found such an outlet in professional hockey. There, rugged, fearless young men are always in demand to play the role of enforcer--a special breed of player who willingly uses his fists to protect teammates and dispense a form of frontier justice to opposing players.
That penchant for pugilism helped Bialowas make it to the National Hockey League for a bittersweet four-game tour of duty with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But, both before and after reaching the pinnacle of his profession, Bialowas spent years on the minor-league circuit, enduring long mind-numbing, body-breaking bus rides just to face the latest tough guy looking to make a name for himself.
It was that journey that eventually landed Bialowas in Philadelphia, hired on to ride shotgun for the AHL's Phantoms franchise during its inaugural season. A few "dust-ups" later, Bialowas was known simply as "The Animal" and had earned himself a place in the hearts of the city's demanding hockey fans who still pledge allegiance to the rough-and-tumble "Broad Street Bullies" editions of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers that terrorized the rest of the league with their rambunctious playing style in the 1970s.
It's a hard life, playing the game on the edge like Bialowas. You become a target of verbal abuse and worse, from fans in cities throughout North America. And, all the while, you wonder when it will end, when you will pick a fight you can't win--the beginning of the end for any enforcer.
"I have had so many young guns come after me and try to prove something," said Bialowas. "If you get hit, you get hit. You can't hurt me. I have a really hard head and my pain tolerance is ridiculous. I don't know where it comes from."
That hard head and immunity to pain served Bialowas well in his career with the Phantoms. In that first season, 1996-97, Bialowas played 67 games, racking up an astronomical 254 minutes in penalties, usually in the five-minute increments handed out for fighting. In one game, against arch-rival Hershey, Bialowas earned a whopping 36 penalty minutes. The next year, Bialowas was the team's main tough guy again--tallying 259 penalty minutes in 65 games--as the Phantoms won their only AHL title.
Not surprisingly, Bialowas was recently inducted into the Phantoms Hall of Fame and team jerseys with his name stenciled on the nameplate are still a staple at Phantoms' games despite the fact he left the team during the 1999 season.
"[Philadelphia] is my city," said Bialowas, who lives in nearby Williamstown, NJ with his wife and daughter. "I loved playing hockey here and I have a lot of fans here." Now, those fans can see him in a new venture. This boxing thing is no fly-by-night venture for Bialowas. He trains four times a week despite working at two physically demanding jobs. He is already looking forward to his next professional bout, maybe in June.
"Right now, it's in my trainer's hands as to when I fight again," said Bialowas. "He's going to make all the decisions with that. I'm still learning. We're back in the gym and working from the foundation up. When Augie says we're ready, he knows where I stand. I'll be ready. "We're going to move forward quickly--don't you worry about that."
I know I'm missing some fights, that I missed some other stuff too, but I had a lot of fun with this one. Fun watching those old fights, and seeing such great box scores. As always any fights, memories, thoughts, articles, clips and comments are appreciated.