Sunday, May 26, 2013
WINSLOW -- Bruce Shoebottom insists his fighting days are over.
SEE WHAT I MEAN: Former Boston Bruin Bruce Shoebottom helps goalie Joshua Girard, 9, with his technique during a clinic Tuesday at Sukee Arena in Winslow. The Boston Bruins alumni association hosted the clinic with players from Central Maine Youth Hockey Association.
Staff photo/Michael G. Seamans
No more right hooks. No more left jabs. No more trying to yank a jersey over his combatant's head.
But then the former Boston Bruins forward with 16 career fights to his name just couldn't resist.
"OK, if I had to fight one guy today, it'd definitely be John Scott of the Sabres," said Shoebottom. "He's like 6-foot-8 so I'd have to get on my tippy toes to fight him. I think I could take him. I'd come up with a plan to master him. I'd have to or else he'd probably kill me."
The 6-foot-2 Shoebottom, a defenseman, played parts of four seasons with the Bruins, beginning in 1987. He played 59 games, including 14 in the playoffs, and finished with two goals and six assists for eight career points. He also had 130 minutes in penalties, with more than just a few majors for fighting.
On a rainy Tuesday night, the 49-year-old Shoebottom joined fellow ex-Bruin Tom Songin at Sukee Arena to coach a clinic for members of the Central Maine Youth Hockey Association. The organization was one of 10 in New England to host a free clinic, which the Boston Bruins and TD Bank put on together.
Jay Violette, vice president of the TD Bank in Waterville, helped bring the Partnership to Assists Skaters and Shooters clinic to Sukee.
"I believe it's the only one in Maine," he said. "We have a relationship with CMYHA. TD Bank sponsors a number of these across New England and they were looking for a team to support. The Bruins have been great."
The clinic was open to 50 skaters in the organization's Pee Wee and Squirt divisions (ages 8 through 12). Each participant received two tickets to an April 21 Bruins game as well as an hour of on-ice instruction.
"Pretty cool," said Austin Hood, 10, of Waterville. "I've never been to a Bruins game before."
TD Bank also donated $1,000 to CMYHA.
Shoebottom, a Scarborough resident who also played for the former Maine Mariners in the American Hockey League, said with a laugh that he planned to keep the drills clean.
"No fighting," he said. "We're here to instruct some positive hockey skills. We don't want any nonsense out there. ... Of course, fighting is still part of hockey, just not today."
Shoebottom signed with the Bruins as a free agent in July 1987. He played his last NHL game during the 1990-91 season. In between, he shared the old Boston Garden ice with Bruins greats Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Ken Linseman, Craig Janney and Glen Wesley.
"I didn't have an epic NHL career by any stretch of the imagination," Shoebottom said, "but I scored some goals, played in the playoffs and got to play with the Bourque and Neely."
Songin is the Youth Hockey Ambassador for the Bruins.
He played at Boston College and made his NHL debut with the Bruins a day after Thanksgiving in 1978.
"My knees were knocking," said Songin, 59, a Norwood, Mass., native.
He had five goals and five assists in 43 career games with the Bruins. He retired in 1983 and later became a scout for the Bruins. Songin now travels across New England to run the clinics.
"Putting on the Bruins uniform was a dream," he said. "I love what I do now. I'm still involved with the game and I still play 30 to 35 alumni games a year. It's fun doing these clinics and watching the kids play. I enjoy it."
So, too, does Shoebottom.
"I do a lot of these clinics and alumni games," he said. "They are a lot of fun. It's nice to do. I'll try to teach what I can."
Without the fighting, of course.
"I've been 39 going on a decade now," Shoebottom said. "The fighting days are over. I just look and growl at people now."
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640