The Role of an Enforcer; John Wensink


Yesterday ESPN did their 30 for 30 Shorts with a former Boston Bruin enforcer. For those of you joining Bruins nation in this generation, the name John Wensink isn’t going to ring a bell. For others, they remember him for his monumental moment when he challenged the entire Minnesota North Stars bench  to a brawl.

“The role of an enforcer isn’t a glamorous role.”-John Wensink

Being an enforcer in the National Hockey League comes with a price, one that isn’t necessarily worthwhile to everyone. For some playing a physical game and being the go-to guy for brawls is what they live for, it earns them a pretty paycheck. For others, they want to be known for more than just a pair of fisticuffs on a Friday night. The description of an enforcer can vary depending on who you talk to, synonymous to terms like “fighter”, “tough guy” and “goon.” Their job is generally to respond to dirty plays and let their teammates know they’ve got their back. Naturally they are put on the ice to send a message by either checking the opponent into the boards or engaging in a fight. Nonetheless getting a message across.

John Wensink was a part of one of the greatest rosters the Bruins have ever seen, being paired with the likes of Terry O’Reilly and Stan Jonathan as the Big Bad Bruins. His infamous moment came after a fight with known heavy hitter Alex Pirus of the Minnesota North Stars on December 1, 1977. While it may seem like just another fight of it’s time, it meant something special to the city of Bosotn , who turned to hockey for their release. His fight was not only one of adrenaline or as a reaction to a dirty play, he was fighting for the city.

Live Feed

2023-24 NHL Schedule Key Dates: Opening Night, Trade Deadline, More
2023-24 NHL Schedule Key Dates: Opening Night, Trade Deadline, More /

Puck Prose

  • Blue Jackets Officially Introduce Pascal Vincent as Head CoachUnion and Blue
  • Detroit Red Wings 2023 Rookie Camp Has Plenty of Ups and DownsPuck Prose
  • Blue Jacket Prospects Win Traverse City Tournament: Who Stood Out?Union and Blue
  • Fantasy Hockey: Potential Calgary Flames sleeper picksFlame for Thought
  • 3 Oilers Players Who Should See An Expanded Role In 2023 And 1 Who Should NotOil On Whyte
  • John Wensink never planned on being that guy for the Boston Bruins, in fact if given the chance, he would have done things differently.

    “What made me do it? I have no idea. Why Minnesota? I have no idea.” he told ESPN “I’m sure it was an adrenaline thing– I’ve got to be very honest, I say it now, thirty years after I played, I’m not a fan of all that extra stuff. Now a days when I see that I’m like ‘why did I do that?’ If I could maybe change that I probably wouldn’t have done that.”

    While Wensink may not have liked the role of enforcer, his teammates were thankful to have him.

    “It’s very comforting to look down your bench and see a guy like John Wensink and know he has your back.” said Jay Miller.

    While he tried to mold his game and become more offensive, scoring 20 goals by late December, his ice time was cut. He knew how lucky he was to be a part of the NHL club and he knew that his legacy was his fighting. He was a guy that could do it all, he could move the puck, score goals, but he was known for his fighting.

    “I’m not out here to gloat on it. I downplay it as much as I can. Sometimes I wish I was remembered for scoring a winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final, but its history and it’s there, I’m a part of it .”