One of the all time great names in hockey history belongs to Bruce Shoebottom.
"My family's from England; I'm second-generation Canadian. And now I'm honored to have the name. Put it this way: I don't think I'd be a big deal if my name were Joe Smith."
Shoebottom was a big, nasty piece of business on the blueline of the Boston Bruins for 35 regular season games spread over four years, as well as 14 Stanley Cup playoff games. He was a behemoth of a rearguard who lacked great skating ability or creativity in his game. Instead he thrived on punishing other opponents when they dared to enter his zone.
"Shoe" scored one big goal - the game winner in game two in a playoff round against Buffalo. Some fans threw their shoes one the ice after that one The rest of the time he and Kevin Maguire engaged in a sideshow war.
"The series against Buffalo was important," he said, "and anything I could have done to help a team win a series was nice. I haven't been on a team that won a series in a long time. I'm fortunate to be with Boston and in the NHL. They seem to like me in honest, working-class places like Boston."
Not that it lasted long. Shoebottom was probably a little more famous for playing with the Peterborough Petes in junior or the minor leagues. Or maybe we should say infamous. He was a real heel of a player - pun intended
Like the night in Salt Lake City where he scaled the boards to get into a fight with fans. Or the night in Maine where he got suspended for 10 games because he head-butted an official. Or the night in Tulsa, Oklahoma were Shoebottom was so irate in the penalty box that the police had to intervene. He head butted an officer, which resulted in him being pepper sprayed and spending a night in jail. Nothing ever came of the assault charges.
Word was Shoebottom was working for an electricity supplier in Maine