Blue Jackets defenseman Billy Sweezey's first NHL fight thrills parents
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Billy Sweezey made his NHL debut last month at age 27.
Recalled again this month from the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters, he played his third NHL game in front of friends and family at Boston's TD Garden, not far from where he was born in Hanson, Massachusetts.
He was part of the Blue Jackets' starting lineup and got his fans going with a spirited second-period fight against Boston's Jakub Lauko, the first for both in the NHL.
Lauko, who sported a few cuts after the game, said he challenged Sweezey to fire up the No.1 overall Bruins, who were trailing the last-place Blue Jackets 1-0 at the time. Sweezey accepted.
Massachusetts boy Billy Sweezey comes home to fight! 👊 #CBJ pic.twitter.com/Tt5ie22Etf
— Bally Sports Columbus (@BallySportsCBUS) March 31, 2023
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"He’s an energized man," Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said of Sweezey. "I’m not shocked one bit that he got in that fight. It was good for our bench."
The fight also drew the admiration of Sweezey's parents, former Providence College hockey players Ken and Lorie, who stood and cheered.
Billy Sweezey’s father LOVED his son’s fight with Jakub Lauko: pic.twitter.com/8v2p3I4nvy
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) March 31, 2023
Billy Sweezey, who played his college hockey at Yale and has had 14 fights in the AHL, spent plenty of time in the TD Garden stands watching the Bruins while growing up. He figured it would be a feisty game and it was.
"Ten-year-old me was very proud of myself," he said after the Bruins 2-1 overtime victory that clinched the Presidents' Trophy for Boston.
Sweezey was unaware of his dad's reaction until told by reporters.
"My dad showed me a lot of Terry O’Reilly highlights growing up, so I’m not surprised he loved that one," he said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Billy Sweezey thrills parents with fight in Blue Jackets-Bruins game