On a recent visit to snopes.com, I noted that the hockey section of their website is woefully underpopulated by hilariously fake urban legends, crazy rumours, and weird myths. Indeed, the site only has three hockey-related entries, with two of them boringly true. This is incredibly disappointing and, frankly, a disgrace. It's especially disgraceful when a bland sport such as baseball has 20 total entries, the vast majority of them patently false, none of them related to steroids.
To rectify this awful, terrible situation, we at Pass it to Bulis have come up with some wildly untrue urban legends that we encourage you to e-mail to your dumbest and loudest friends. Feel free to add, twist, or distort any of these into whatever form you wish: that is the mark of a good urban legend.
Here presented for your enjoyment and dissemination are 10 Tru Fakts.*
- Famed enforcer and all-time NHL penalty-minute leader David "Tiger" Williams got into his fair share of scraps in his day. This was back before mouthguards were common, and he would often knock out a tooth or two from his opponent. He had a standing arrangement with the crew at each arena to collect the teeth from the ice after each fight and give them to him after the game, usually slipping $50 back their way. He strung the teeth on a necklace that he wore under his sweater.
- Pavel Bure drank a gallon of milk and expelled the milk via vomiting prior to every single hockey game. He attributed his great speed on the ice to this habit.
- Unbeknownst to hockey fans, the NHL, in an attempt to increase hockey's profile in the US, increased the size of the away nets in the LA King's home arena, The Forum, by less than half an inch from 1988 to 1991, leading to inflated point totals for Wayne Gretzky, a high-profile star at the time.
- Vancouver Canuck Sami Salo once ruptured a testicle blocking a slapshot. The injury occurred in a playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks on May 9, 2010. The Canucks went on to win the game and Salo returned to action the following game despite the testicular trauma.
- In college, Bill Clinton was a standout in hockey at Georgetown University and was offered a contract by several NHL teams, including the New York Rangers, but chose to instead go to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. The hockey program at Georgetown has since collapsed due to lack of funding.
- In 2002, former Vancouver Canuck Harold Druken once paid a $500 fine entirely in Loonies to then General Manager Brian Burke. Burke did not take the joke well: Druken was traded shortly after to the Carolina Hurricanes on November 1, 2002.
- There is a human skeleton in the foundations of Nassau Coliseum, but it wasn't due to a construction accident. The owner of the New York Islanders and New York Nets at the time, Roy Boe, famously loved urban legends and believed that all great construction projects needed one. He tasked one of his employees, Harvey Ringwold, to acquire a skeleton to place in the building's foundation or walls. Ringwold procured the skeleton from the NYU School of Medicine under the pretense of outfitting the Coliseum's medical room.
- Prior to the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1984, Grant Fuhr was asked by a white reporter, "How long have you been a black goaltender?" Fuhr's response: "I've been a goalie since I was nine. I've been black all my life."
- From 1972 until 1987, the rule for icing did not actually appear in the NHL rulebook. A clerical error in printing a new edition of the official NHL rulebook in 1972 led to the rule accidentally being left out. It continued to be called as per usual and wasn't noticed as missing until the 1987 edition.
- The 100 Grand Bar, a popular chocolate bar introduced in 1966, was named for the two-year $100,000 contract Bobby Orr signed with the Boston Bruins as a prospect. The contract made Bobby Orr the highest-paid player in league history. Nestlé's US headquarters were located in Boston and introduced the chocolate bar after the contract signing, intending it to be a short-term product as a joke. Instead, the bar became a success, with consumer demand forcing the 100 Grand Bar into permanent production.
- Gordie Howe famously met his wife, Colleen, at a Detroit bowling alley. Lesser known was that Gordie Howe was an internationally ranked ten-pin bowler, once reaching as high as 17. It was said that he could have had a long professional career in bowling if he hadn't been so good at hockey. He frequently bowled under the pseudonym "Gordon Hoyle" to avoid attracting attention.
* Tru Fakts are in no way related to true facts. Pass it to Bulis cannot be held responsible for any injury incurred while using Tru Fakts.