The Broken Bottle Incident: Mellanby missed the start of the 1989-90 season with severed nerves and tendons in his left forearm, which he suffered in an Aug. 20, 1989, bar fight at the Muskoka Sands Motel in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Mellanby and friend Jeff Frazier were staying at a resort north of Toronto and had stopped for drinks at the Muskoka Sands. While they were there, a 44-year-old named Frank Chapple got into a fight with Frazier. Chapple allegedly broke a beer bottle and attempted to cut Frazier's throat with it.
Mellanby was trying to help his friend, when an angry Chapple cut into his left arm with the bottle. Mellanby was sent to Toronto General Hospital, where he underwent surgery for a severed ulnar nerve and artery. The broken bottle also cut five tendons in Mellanby's arm. The Flyers did not blame Mellanby, who was only trying to help a friend when he was hurt. Meanwhile, Chapple was arrested and charged with assault. In a subsequent civil lawsuit against both Chapple and the bar itself, Chapple was found guilty for 50 percent of the incident and ordered to pay $521,043 in damages, while the bar was responsible for another 15 percent of the damages. Chapple couldn't pay, so the bar's insurance company had to pay the entire $750,000 (including expenses) owed to Mellanby by Chapple and the bar.
As a result of the injury, Mellanby did not make his 1989-90 NHL regular-season debut until Philadelphia's Nov. 22, 1989, game vs. Montreal. He had an assist in that game.