The Top 3 Outrageous Stories About the Toronto Maple Leafs President

Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Brendan Shanahan #11 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 18, 1989 at Maple Leaf Gardens (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs were excited to sign Brendan Shanahan to be their president and alternate governor in 2014. They may not have known that they got a man with an outrageous past.

The Toronto Maple Leafs thought that they got the right person to run the organization when they poached Brendan Shanahan from the NHL offices. He was the league’s senior vice president of player safety before resigning to join the Leafs. Going to Toronto, he brought some bespoke suits and a handful of excellent stories.

While the Leafs have not gotten any playoff success under Shanahan, he has overseen a complete transformation of the organization from the dark days of the Burke/Nonis era.  The Leafs are in a way better position today than they have been in decades, and that is largely because of Shanahan.

Today recount the top three outrageous stories from Shanahan’s playing days.

The Third Most Outrageous Story

This story teaches us that Shanahan can hold a grudge. It dates back all the way to the summer of 1983, four years before the Mimico, Ontario native was drafted second overall by the New Jersey Devils. It was recounted to Gary Bettman on his satellite radio show in 2009 by Shanny himself.

A 14-year-old Shanahan was in a Toronto rink when he was told that there was a celebrity in the building. As a young Maple Leafs fan, he was excited to discover that the captain of the team, Rick Vaive, wasn’t just skating on a different pad in the arena but was actually in the neighbouring dressing room.

Shanahan hustled over to meet the legendary player and request an autograph from him. “I didn’t get the best response from Rick Vaive at that time”, Shanahan said of the interaction he had with the captain. He was so miffed about the experience that he made sure to get even down the line.

That opportunity came when Shanahan joined the Devils as an 18-year-old NHL rookie. After a two-year stop with the Chicago Blackhawks, Vaive joined the Buffalo Sabres. When the Devils were in Buffalo, Shanahan lined for a face-off against his once hero, now nemesis.

Once the linesman dropped the puck, the rookie went after the veteran. Shanahan later reflected on his attack on the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Famer. “It was a quiet, uneventful game. [Vaive] couldn’t believe the rage I had, not only in attacking him, but it took two (linesmen) to restrain me afterwards and throw me in the penalty box.” Shanahan’s teammates knew about the past snubbing and had to explain to Vaive why he was targetted.

This wasn’t the last time these two men connected. Once retired, Vaive introduced his son to Shanahan when he was in Toronto. This meeting went much differently. Shanahan explained, “I signed the autograph, took a picture and gave him a piggy-back. I didn’t want karma to come back and get me.”