The Maple Leafs officially announced the hire of Brendan Shanahan as team president today, so it seems like a good time to dig up this old story of a younger, wilder Shanahan, beating the shit out of some Yankee Stadium bleacher creatures.
It comes from a 2008 post upon the closing of Yankee Stadium II, when we solicited fans' stories of the old ballpark. This was the best one, from reader Jack:
Due to some ridiculousness, my uncle was buddies with a number of hockey players in the 80's and 90's. He got pretty close with a bunch of them which resulted in Brendan Shanahan showing up for one of the family weddings. We're from the Bronx (so I've got tons of these stories but I digress), so while he was there, him and a friend of his wanted to catch a Yankees game, and the Blue Jays happen to be in town. Uh-oh.
They show up to the game wearing Maple Leafs jackets (he's from Toronto) and we sit in the bleachers. I position myself over a bit so as to not catch a beating (I'm pretty young at this point) but still want to be close enough to be hanging with these two huge guys. The game is dragging and people are getting hammered and Shanahan is yelling out in support of the Jays and the bleacher creatures are coming back on him pretty hard. It builds. And builds.
All of the sudden somebody snaps and starts really jawing, a fight breaks out and Shanahan and his buddy are just destroying people. Seriously, do not mess with guys who are paid to be huge and are used to getting only 5 minutes of reprieve for giving someone a serious beatdown. Eventually the cops break it up and both of them and a bunch of others get escorted out, and Shanahan, with blood on his face from taking a few shots, isn't mad or yelling, he's actually laughing like a kid on a amusement park ride (I've been terrified of him since and this was easily 15 years ago). The guy (maybe all hockey players?) was absolutely insane but he definitely got his money's worth from Yankees Stadium.
I have no way of knowing whether this story is true, but I choose to believe it is. And in the end, isn't that enough?