Huskies defenseman Mike Mannina recalls fight with St. Louis Blues forward Cam Janssen


Rules for fighting in the Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association are nothing like the NHL.

While fighting virtually costs players nothing in the pros, in the MACHA, suspensions are handed out even after a player’s first fight.

They increase the more a player throws off the gloves. If a player gets in his fourth fight of the year it will be his last; he will be suspended the remainder of the year.

So it’s no wonder when junior forward Peter Alfano is asked who’s been in the most fights this year he doesn’t mention anyone. But when asked if the rules were similar to the NHL, Alfano doesn’t even hesistate: Mike Mannina.

Senior defenseman Mike Mannina has a history of fighting and isn’t bashful about it. Mannina, a transfer student from the University of Illinois, where he played hockey for two years and fought plenty, believes there is a time and place for fighting in hockey. He came close two weekends ago against conference foe DePaul.

When Mannina speaks of his fights it’s hard not to notice the joy in his voice.

“I did challenge, pretty much, the whole bench,” Mannina says. “The guy who speared me jumped on the bench and I went over there and asked ‘Who wants to go?'”

He didn’t have any takers.

But Mannina did have a taker when he was 16 years old at a tryout for a traveling team in Michigan. Cam Janssen, now a forward for the St. Louis Blues, was also trying out and the two met behind the net. The rest is history.

“I was streaming down the ice and I had gotten rid of the puck and he hit me about four seconds after I got rid of it and he hit me with a flying elbow,” Mannina says. “After that I took my helmet and gloves off. We’re both trying to make the team and impress the coaches so we just beat the snot out of each other.”

Mannina, to this day, says it was a draw.

“It was the closest I ever came to losing a fight because I was pretty banged up. He got his shots in and I got my shots in,” Mannina says. “Neither of us went down, so anytime two guys are both standing after a fight you know it’s pretty good.”

Ironically, Janssen is one of Mannina’s favorite NHL players because of his intense fighting skills.

“He’s an animal,” Mannina says. “I respect him a lot. He’s not the biggest guy but he never backs down from anyone.”

The Huskies have Lake Forest College, St. Louis University, Bradley University and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville left on the regular season schedule.

There is one question on the Huskies’ mind: Will Mannina be dressed for them all?