As sports fans, we sometimes get a little carried away with our enthusiasm. Most of us can probably recall a time when maybe we said something we shouldn’t have in front of the wrong person, or perhaps threw something that we shouldn’t have towards the playing surface.
Some fans, however, take it a step further than that, and all of a sudden they end up in the public eye, embarrassing themselves in front of the entire world (what, with the internet and all). Today we pay our, erm, respects to the craziest, most ridiculous fans in hockey whose antics got them attention (both in a positive and negative light).
Many of the fans who appear on this list faced legal repercussions for their drunken antics, whereas some fans just inserted themselves into the game within legal parameters, often a strategy to get into the heads of the opposing team. Either way, the end result is often fun and entertaining for your average spectator, as long as it’s not TOO disruptive to the flow of the game.
With that in mind, here they are: the top 10 times fans became too involved in the NHL:
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12 Shanahan Stays Subtle
During the 2002 Stanley Cup Final, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves in a series against the pesky Carolina Hurricanes. The series went to Carolina evened up at 1-1 and Carolina fans were experiencing hockey fever. One fan in particular, decided to make her voice heard to Red Wings players at every turn, giving each one in the box an earful. When Brendan Shanahan found himself in the box, he didn't lose his cool, just making a simple gesture for the fan to groom her armpits.
11 Karma Strikes
Steve Sullivan was cut in the face during a game against Colorado. A fan in the stands decided to taunt Sullivan for his injuries and Sullivan was stuck behind glass, not able to retaliate. He wouldn't have to. When Patrick Roy was clearing the puck, it sailed over the glass and hit that same fan right in the head. While the fan is in his right to shout from his seat at a player, a certain line was crossed in taunting an injured player. The hockey gods were smiling on Sullivan.
10 Drunk fan in Cow Town
One of the most recent cases of a hockey fan streaking (it’s rare) came just a few years ago in Calgary before the start of a game verses the San Jose Sharks. A fan who had obviously already had a few too many at the Saddledome thought it was a good idea to strip down to nothing but his boxers and storm the ice.
Needless to say, he was apprehended by security rather swiftly; it’s tough to evade capture when you are running barefoot on ice.
9 Rypien takes it a little too far
The late Rick Rypien always used to play with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and that chip was on full display during a game in Minnesota in 2010. In a game the Wild had comfortably in hand, a scrum broke out in the second period. Rypien was involved in the kerfuffle, and after the dust settled the linesmen led him off the ice.
On his way out, a Wild fan from behind the players bench looked to be taunting Rypien on his way by, and the pugilist didn’t take too kindly to that. Rypien grabbed the Wild fan by the jersey and pulled him in, but luckily was restrained before he could do any serious damage (although the fan, James Engquist, was being a bit dramatic afterwards, threatening to “lawyer up”). Rypien was suspended for his role in the incident.
8 Isles fans join in on the "celly"
Winning a Stanley Cup must be a pretty special feeling. When that final buzzer sounds and you realize that the last two months of incredibly hard work have finally paid off, you get to celebrate with your teammates, the people you have been at war with.
Well, when the New York Islanders won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 1981, the players had little time to celebrate immediately after the fact, because a whole bunch of fans stormed the ice to join in on the festivities. Luckily, everyone was happy drunk at that point, so nobody got hurt.
7 The Paul MacLean doppelganger
This is one of my personal favorites. There’s not much more I can add to the above video of a guy who looks exactly like Paul MacLean sitting in the stands behind the Sens’ bench, right behind then-head coach Paul MacLean.
The MacLean doppelganger was asked to move seats on at least one occasion, but I think that’s bush league. This man wins everything, as far as I’m concerned. I suppose it could be distracting to MacLean, but the entertainment factor outweighs the inconvenience IMO.
6 Linesman absolutely destroys streaker in Beantown
If you’re a streaker, hockey is probably one of the toughest sports to get into. There have been very few who have succeeded, as the glass prevents fans from entering the playing surface with any ease, and once they’re there they usually discover the trials and tribulations of trying to evade capture while running on ice.
One such fan in Boston during a game against the Jets in 1987 experienced yet another, perhaps unexpected obstacle. After a missed high sticking call, fans at the Garden were angry, and before play got started one of them hopped over the glass onto the ice and made a B-line for referee McCreary, who missed the call. Unfortunately for the fan, one of the linesmen got to him before he could get to McCreary, and he was checked heavily to the ice.
5 Tie Domi vs. drunk Philly fan
It’s always a great when a drunk fan gets a beating from a player, and one of the best ever such situations was Tie Domi in Philly back in 2000-01. Domi was sent to the box during the regular season game, and once he was there fans in Philly didn’t hesitate to start giving him the gears.
It was already a heated game, and Domi had no patience for this type of business, so he gave the fans behind him a few squirts with his water bottle. Then, one rather robust fan leaped over the Plexiglas in retaliation, causing it to fall into the box with Domi, and the fan fell in shortly after. Domi proceeded to beat the crap out of him. The fan was escorted from the premises, and Domi was given a $1,000 fine (the maximum at the time).
4 The Green Men
The Vancouver Canucks “Green Men” have become famous throughout the league since they made their debut in 2009. Not many people seemed to know that the two guys who do it, Adam Forsyth and Ryan Sullivan, actually just stole the gag from Charlie Day’s character in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but I guess that doesn’t really matter.
The Green Men tend to make life a living hell for any member of an opposing team who takes a penalty. They have to spend two minutes with the Green Men just-a-trollin’ them from the seats beside the penalty box.
3 The Sasha Lakovic incident
I was actually at this game, so I will give you a first-hand account of this one. I was a wee 11-year-old attending a hockey game between the Oilers and Flames at what was then Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. In the third period, I saw a flash of red shoot up into the crowd from the Flames’ player bench.
It was Sasha Lakovic leaping over the glass behind the players’ bench. Lakovic was reacting to a fan who had apparently had too much to drink and decided it was a good idea to dump the rest of his beer on Flames head coach Guy Lapointe’s head. Lakovic was given a two game suspension for his actions, but the intoxicated fan received a lifetime ban from Northlands Coliseum.
2 Rob Ray's heavy rights
During a game between the Sabres and the Nordiques back in 1992, a disgruntled drunk Nordiques fan hopped the glass onto the ice surface. When he approached the Sabres players bench, they didn’t take too kindly to the perceived threat and took matters into their own hands.
Pugilist Rob Ray was playing for the Sabres at the time, and he was seemingly the most offended by the uninvited guest. Ray feeds the fan about 15 rights to the back of his head, so it’s safe to say that the fan woke up with a splitting headache from both the over-consumption of booze and the punches.
1 Mike Milbury and the shoe beating
The younger generation probably thinks NBA star Ron Artest (AKA Metta World Peace) was the first pro athlete to jump into the stands to lay a beat down on a fan. Somewhat not surprisingly, Mike Milbury (and several of his teammates) actually accomplished that feat back in the late 70s playing for the Bruins.
It was during a road game at MSG when things got a little out of hand. An on-ice brawl broke out, and a Rangers fan reached over and struck Bruin Stan Jonathan with a rolled up program, cutting his face. Well, the Bruins didn’t take kindly to this, and Terry O’Reilly led the charge over the Plexiglas and into the stands. Milbury joined the fray soon after and got hold of the unruly fan, and use the guy’s own shoe to beat on him, as you can see in the video above. It's quite glorious.
The offending fan went to jail for six months because of the incident, and several Bruins players were suspended and fined, including Milbury and O’Reilly.
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