Bokondji “Boko” Imama and Brandon Manning dropped the gloves during their first AHL meeting since Manning was suspended five games for uttering a racial slur at Imama. As you can see from the video above, Imama ended up winning that fight with Manning.
Imama wins fight with Manning, has quite the night
Imama didn’t just win that fight; his team also won the game. In fact, Imama’s Ontario Reign set a franchise record by beating Manning’s Bakersfield Condors 10-3.
Imama generated a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a goal, assist, and that fight. With all of that in mind, it’s not too surprising to see Imama beaming (and distracted) in a postgame interview:
Of course, no win (in a fight or a game) erases what Manning said to Imama. It also won’t silence critics who believe that a five-game suspension wasn’t enough. Racism remains a problem in hockey, at the AHL and NHL levels, and beyond.
How NHL, AHL has handled past incidents, and potential future approaches
Back in December, the NHL detailed how it may handle future moments that “cross the line.” Time will tell if those changes end up being meaningful — Aliu seemed optimistic after a talk — but hopefully Friday gave Imama a measure of closure.
After being released by the Pirates in December, Bissonnette signed a deal with the Manchester Monarchs – the L.A. Kings affiliate. The veteran of 202 NHL games scored one goal and six assists to go along with 167 penalty minutes in 48 games with the Monarchs.
He also appeared in 11 playoff games as Manchester captured the Calder Cup.
“It was pretty special, especially after a tough start to the year,” Bissonnette said. “It was a good way to finish out and kind of look at it in a positive light.”
L.A. Kings forward Kyle Clifford got tired of not playing hockey but didn’t want to go far away to play during the lockout. Luckily for him, the Ontario Reign play in California and were happy to welcome him into the fold.
At 21 years-old, Clifford wouldn’t seem like a natural candidate to be locked out of playing in the AHL, but he’s spent the last two seasons with the Kings as their tough-guy forward racking up a total of 264 penalty minutes over 157 games. He likely won’t have a hard time looking for people to dance with in the ECHL if the mood strikes him.