sleep 5The Mike Comrie-Hilary Duff relationship is not the first time an Islander has been close with a star. Twenty years ago Islanders defenseman Wayne McBean dated Alyssa Milano, who was known at the time for being one of the kids in the popular ABC sitcom “Who’s The Boss” and is now known for dating athletes far more famous than The Beaner.
Back then, Milano would go on Johnny Carson and Arsenio Hall’s shows to talk about how she fell hard for McBean. When she was in LA shooting her TV show, the sports section of the LA Times ran a picture of the 18-year old the Kings picked in the first round of the NHL Draft. Milano swooned and asked her people to arrange a meeting. Ah, the power of being on a hit TV show with Tony Danza. I love the ’80s.
A smooth-skating defenseman, McBean was selected by the Kings fourth overall in the 1987 draft. About a year and a half later, he was traded with fellow prospect (and Medicine Hat teammate) Mark Fitzpatrick along with a Doug Crossman to be named later for Kelly Hrudey. I remember two things about that day: the Islanders’ ticket sales director being really pissed that Bill Torrey had dealt one of the team’s two stars – Pat LaFontaine was the other – and Kelly having the class to walk around the offices and shake hands with everyone before cleaning out his locker.
Like Comrie today, the Calgary-born McBean had no trouble separating his private life from his playing career. He took shots about dating Milano, but just shrugged them off. When the relationship ended in 1990, everyone at the Islanders heard about it the same way: from the tabloids. The Beaner never said a word or acted like anything was different.
A chronic wrist injury ended Wayne’s career in 1994, after playing just 20 games in ’92-93 with the Islanders’ minor league affiliate in Albany (remember the Capital District Islanders?). I’m told he’s back in Calgary today, enjoying life as he approaches 40.
Alyssa, of course, has been on “Charmed” and “My Name is Earl,” played Amy Fisher in a hilariously bad TV movie, performed impressive charitable work for UNICEF and PETA, blogged for Major League Baseball and dated Brad Penny, ironman Carl Pavano, Barry Zito and Russell Martin, separately. I saw her at an MLB All-Star Party this summer and I'm happy to report she remains a lovely, lovely woman.
According to official records, Alyssa turns 36 in December – which means she was approaching her 15th birthday when she saw Beaner’s draft picture in the LA Times and had her people call the Kings. In every sense of the word, Wayne McBean truly was a first-rounder.