That game always brings a smile to my face. I was actually there, in fact not that far from where the video was taken.
The rivalry between the two teams involved (Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers) is reknowned in the UK. It has diminished over the past couple of years, but this bench clearance came at it's height in 2001.
I've got the game on video and every now and again I replay it for a laugh. It was one wild night, dominated by the season-long feud between Sheffield's Dennis Vial (former Ottawa, Detroit and NYR defenceman) and Nottingham's Barry Nieckar (who made 8 appearances in total for Anaheim, Calgary and Hartford). The two had danced a few times before this night, but Nieckar really got the upper hand. In fact Vial was never the same player.
As BritishPenguin said hockey is a minority sport in the UK, but it does have a very loyal fanbase. Historically it's fortunes are cyclical, right now its probably on the way down again. The 90's saw the rise of the ill-fated ISL which aimed to create a league of arena based teams to rival the DEL. Massive sums of money were spent on very talented players, but in the end the financial model just couldn't work. At its best Sheffield was attracting crowds around the 10,000 mark. Now we're lucky if we can get 5,000.
Do the fans sing? Yes, quite often. But right now my team (Sheffield) are in a real slump with moral at an all-time low. Consequently the atmosphere at home games is now akin to a chess match. In fact its so bad you daren't even cough!