There once was a time when boxing was so popular that a heavyweight title fight shut down four NHL games.
It happened on the evening of October 29, 1974. Four of the night’s five NHL games were re-scheduled – so that hockey arenas could host closed-circuit telecasts of the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman ‘Rumble In the Jungle.’
Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues was rebooked for November 25. Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals was re-scheduled for February 21, 1975. The New York Islanders at California Golden Seals was played one day earlier on October 28, as was the Los Angeles Kings at Pittsburgh Penguins match.
The fifth NHL game scheduled for that October 29 evening – the Detroit Red Wings at Pacific Coliseum vs. Vancouver Canucks was not postponed and went ahead as planned.
This unique occurance marked the only time in NHL history that four scheduled games were postponed for a reason other than inclement weather.
Imagine how popular heavyweight boxing was during the Muhammad Ali era in the 1970’s – with four NHL games getting knocked out of their own home – to stage a closed-circuit boxing show. My oh my how times have changed.
The most recent world heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Eddie Chambers was not even televised on any American networks.
Source: “What’s The Score? A One-Of-A-Kind Compendium Of Hockey Lore, Legend, History, Facts, Stats” by Liam Maguire