There’s been more than a few instances of fans getting involved in NHL games in less-than-ideal circumstances.
Here’s a look at some of these famous interactions:
The Boston Bruins Enter the Stands
This is the one everyone knows. On Dec. 23, 1979, numerous members of the Bruins entered the stands at Madison Square Garden while facing off against the New York Rangers. The Bruins climbed into the stands after a fan by the name of Johnathan Kaptain had hit Bruins forward Stan Johnathan in the head with a program before stealing his stick.
The enraged Bruins squad proceeded to climb the glass, with Terry O’Reilly being the first Bruin to reach Kaptain.
The longest-lasting image of the incident, though, has to be Mike Milbury hitting Kaptain with his own shoe. The incident wouldn’t go over without punishments for the Bruins, as the NHL handed down numerous fines and suspensions.
Tie Domi vs. a Flyers Fan
Domi was afraid of nobody. He squared off the toughest guys the sport has ever had including the likes of Bob Probert, Rob Ray, Marty McSorley, and Georges Laraque without fear. The names on that fight card also include a Philadelphia Flyers fan who bit off a bit more than he could chew.
On March 21, 2001 while serving a penalty during a Maple Leafs-Flyers game in Philadelphia, Domi responded to fans throwing things at him in the penalty box by squirting his water bottle into the crowd behind him. The water spray resulted in Flyers fan Chris Falcone charging down from his seat to the penalty box glass area to take a swipe at Domi. Falcone’s continued pressing against the glass caused it to break and it resulted in him tumbling into the box.
This incident actually has a humorous ending as Domi and Falcone made amends after this. Domi even gave Falcone and his family tickets to playoff games in Toronto.
Sasha Lakovic defends his coach
The Battle of Alberta is almost always filled with drama. But on Nov. 23, 1996, that drama saw members of the Flames throwing punches at an Edmonton fan.
During a stoppage in play, a fan leaned over the glass and proceeded to dump a beer on the head of Flames assistant coach Guy Lapointe. The gesture saw Lapointe punch the fan and Sasha Lakovic would skate over to help his bench boss. The incident was the climax of a night that saw Oilers fans heckling the Flames bench to the point that local police had to be called to try and restore order.
Lakovic would receive a two-game suspension while the fan was banned from the Coliseum for life.
Rob Ray Fights a Fan
Standing in front of Rob Ray was a daunting task for anyone. But on April 29, 1992, a fan had the chance to experience what some of the game’s top enforcers felt. Acting on a bet during a Buffalo Sabres-Quebec Nordiques game at the now-closed Colisée Pepsi, a fan jumped over the glass and into the Sabres bench. That proved to be one of the biggest mistakes any spectator could make.
The man would be hit with over a dozen bunches from Ray before police officers could get into the ice to de-escalate the problem. The Sabres enforcer would escape criminal charges, but the most impressive aspect of the whole ordeal was that the fan amazingly stood upright for the full barrage of right hands from the man known as Rayzor.
Ron Asslstine gets physical
An NHL official most likely never goes into a game thinking he’ll have to deliver a body check to anyone on the ice, but that’s exactly what happened to Ron Asslstine in a game.
During a Boston Bruins-Winnipeg Jets game at the Boston Garden in 1989, a fan scaled the glass and ran onto the ice, making a beeline for referee Bill McCreary. Thinking fast, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Asslstine skated over to the fan and delivered a textbook check with his shoulder that sent the fan tumbling into the boards behind the Jets net.
The fan in question was identified as Frank Baro, and, apparently, he wanted to talk to McCreary about a call in the game that he had supposedly missed. With Asslstine working that game, he made sure that Mr. Baro would not have a chance to hold that conversation.