The mystery began with a tweet from TSN1040 reporter Jeff Paterson last June.
Why was Paterson watching this old clip, in the middle of summer, is another question for another day, but it piqued my interest in trying to create content to support our decade nights as part of the 50th season celebration. We're saluting the Canucks of the '90s this Saturday when we host the New York Rangers, so a story on this emphatic ice runner would be very fitting.
Raven Nyman to the rescue.
A quick DM to Raven and I was put in touch with her father Greg Nyman, the infamous fan on the ice.
The scene: It's June 11, 1994, with the Canucks hosting the Rangers at the Pacific Coliseum in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. New York leads the series 3-2, so it's do-or-die for Vancouver. A win and it's back to The Big Apple with one big game to decide the Stanley Cup champion.
Jeff Brown opened the scoring in the 1st period before Geoff Courtnall gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead mid-way through the 2nd period. Alex Kovalev replied for the Rangers to make it a 2-1 game after 40 minutes. Brown scored again in the 3rd and Courtnall iced it late, scoring with 1:32 to play, giving the Canucks a 4-1 win, forcing a Game 7.
In the dying moments of the 3rd, as chaos reigned throughout the Coliseum, Greg Nyman had an idea.
"We saw that Vancouver was going to win, they were on fire, playing really well," said Nyman, who was 30-years-old at the time. "We had had a few drinks, so near the end when they were going to win, I told my brother I was going to jump on the ice. He told me to go for it. It was pandemonium in the Coliseum."
David Nyman provided the older brother bad influence needed and away Greg went. From his seat in the upper half of the lower bowl, Nyman made his way down to the glass, and with roughly 1.8 seconds left in the 3rd period, he joined the Canucks and Rangers on the ice.
"There was the high glass in the end, then from blueline to blueline or whatever it was, the glass was just short panels," he explained. "So I waited until it was chaos, everyone was on their feet screaming and yelling, and so I ran down and just vaulted myself over the glass. Nobody helped me, it was a one-jump move. I was young, in shape and tough, bulletproof, you know."
Although Nyman's plan was of the spur of the moment variety, he had the double knee slide planned for two reasons: "My mom and step-dad had season tickets down against the glass in the Canucks attacking zone, off to the left, so I thought I'd jump over the glass and then I'll slide towards them. Then I started running on the ice, and I thought I'd do the Tiger Williams and try to look like him even though I didn't have skates or a stick."
Nyman slides through the shot and out of the frame, saying hello to his mom and step-dad in the process. Then what? Well, after some Rangers pointed out Nyman, two attendants came onto the ice and escorted him from the building. They were nice about it, Nyman said, and he went very willingly. He then circled around outside and went back into the game to celebrate the Canucks win with his brother.
The only lasting impact of Nyman's infamous ice slide also serves as a reminder of his mischievous stunt.
"Going over the glass, I cut my hand on the top. It wasn't really bad, but it did leave a scar on my right hand."
Greg's daughter Raven, the oldest of this three children, was born in December of 1994, six months after the Canucks lost to the Rangers 3-2 in Game 7. When she was old enough to understand what her dad had done, uncle David - you'll remember him as the initial older brother bad influence to the ice run - was happy to show her the clip. Again and again and again.
"My brother showed me a clip of it and he also told me I'd been on the news," laughed Greg. "Then it went away until one day he put a bug in my daughter's ear and she looked it up and then she shared it with her siblings, but I denied it was me for a long time."
No more denying it. The truth is out. Case closed.
Now that, Jeff Paterson, is the love this Canucks fan deserves all these years later, for his hilarious slide.