When Willie Mitchell got fed up with Mike Keenan, and made every hockey fan laugh with his awesome revenge

Mike Keenan loves some controversy and stirring up emotions. That’s nothing new. Keenan holds several coaching records in the NHL, but he’s most known for other things than just wins.

Keenan was nicknamed ”Iron Mike,” and it’s barely been a more fitting nickname in the sporting world than that. Keenan always had trouble maintaining great relationships with players and management.

He was not afraid to speak up if he felt something was wrong, and many players had difficulty accepting his tough coaching style. But Keenan always did everything to win, and he didn’t care if he made some enemies on his way there.

Late in the 2008-09 season, as Keenan coached the Calgary Flames, he saw something he didn’t like when the Vancouver Canucks prepared for their matchup. Keenan was absolutely sure that D-man Willie Mitchell was using an illegally long stick.

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Sticks can’t be longer than 63 inches long, but Mitchell claimed his stick was legal.

Mitchell wasn’t going to let it pass, and he responded with some perverse humor about how it’s not about the length of the stick–but about how you use the stick.

“Just in case he doesn’t know over there … I’ve got a tape measure. It’s not my stick that does the work, anyway. It’s my brain. I think it’s a good compliment [from Keenan]. Obviously, he’s worried about me playing against Jarome.”

But Mitchell wasn’t done. Skip forward to game time, and everyone was shocked when Mitchell skated out to the pre-game warm-ups. Mitchell actually skated around with a stick so long it could’ve been Zdeno Chara’s.

Mitchell had taped two shafts together to create a superstick, and he got his sweet revenge on Keenan for his previous comment.