Steve Ruane was a bodacious storyteller. At least, that's the way his boss, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, tells it.
Ruane, Xcel Energy Center's security projects coordinator, would often regale Leipold with gossip from the Wild's locker room and stories about rock stars in town.
"He said he knew Stevie Nicks," Leipold said at Ruane's memorial service.
Always a bit skeptical about the veracity of Ruane's yarns, Leipold pointed out, "There was Steve's story, and then there was reality."
The next speaker, Xcel Energy Center general manager Jack Larson, explained how he had known Ruane for more than 45 years, since their days at the old Met Center.
"One time, at a Prince concert, Steve comes to my office at Met Center with three young women," Larson recalled. "One of them was Stevie Nicks."
Ruane died of natural causes on May 22 in his Bloomington home. He was 64.
Leipold called Ruane a loyal, caring, dependable employee.
"What do you do when you're in need, you call Stevie," said Leipold, who lives primarily in Racine, Wis., and relied on Ruane as his driver in the Twin Cities.
So when Leipold experienced excruciating pain one Sunday at his St. Paul apartment a few years ago, his first call was to Ruane.
"He was driving like a maniac like he did. I didn't care," Leipold recalled. "I had a kidney stone. It was an all-day event. The one constant I had was Stevie."
Ruane had health issues himself, including diabetes, forcing him to miss much of the past couple years at Xcel Energy Center but returning a few months ago, bringing apple pies and carrot cake baked by his mother, Marlee.
Ruane was an accountant by profession until he went full-time with the Wild in 2000.
He got his start behind the scenes as a football manager at Bloomington Kennedy High School and an usher at Met Stadium, ending up with special assignments. That's why he received a letter in 1973 from then-U. S. Sen. Hubert Humphrey, thanking him for his help at Vikings and Twins games.
Ruane eventually moved across the parking lot to Met Center, doing various tasks including driving the Minnesota North Stars owners and later taking care of next-owner Norm Green's dogs.
After Met Center closed in '94, Ruane headed to the St. Paul Civic Center and later to the Wild, sometimes attending prayer services with then-owner Bob Naegele.
Ruane liked to hobnob with celebrities, collecting autographed photos from the likes of Wayne Gretzky and getting his picture taken with Bill Clinton, among others.
"Somewhere there's a photo of me when I was about 2 with Stevie Nicks at our house," said Jonathan Ruane, Steve's son. At least he heard about this photo from his dad.
Several Wild stars attended Ruane's memorial service, including Ryan Suter and Nate Prosser, as well as Minnesota hockey guru Lou Nanne.
Larson remembered Ruane as a character who always wore a dress shirt and double-knit slacks, often with a bottle of Pepsi in his back pocket.
In the mid-1980s, Ruane joined Larson and others on a boat ride on Lake Minnetonka. Suddenly Ruane took off his white shirt jumped in the water in his T-shirt and double-knits and decided to water ski for the first time.
"He was determined and competitive," Larson noted.
Leipold described Ruane as a people person. "He did everything for us," the owner said, "but sharpen the skates."
Ruane is survived by his mother, son, brother Randy and nieces and nephews. Services have been held.