Edmonton Oilers – The 99

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we travel to the City of Champions, to examine the Edmonton Oilers and see if that title still applies:

Establishment Story: The franchise began playing in the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972 as the Alberta Oilers. Previous attempts to bring an NHL team to Edmonton had failed, so a WHA team was sought. The following season, the name was changed to Edmonton Oilers. With the NHL-WHA merger in 1979, the Oilers used Wayne Gretzky’s personal services contract with owner Peter Pocklington to force the NHL into allowing Edmonton into the NHL.

Stanley Cups: The Oilers won their five Stanley Cups in a seven-year span (1984-1990), resulting in Edmonton being considered a dynasty. They also found themselves on the losing end of the Finals in 1983 and 2006. Following the Oilers victory in 1988, the team gathered on the ice for a group photo with Stanley Cup. This started the tradition of teams doing so after winning the big one.

Celebrity Fan: Despite being born in Calgary, comic book artist and creator, Todd McFarlane, is a huge a fan of the Oilers. So much so, that he once had an ownership stake in the team. He also created the club’s first ever third jersey, known amongst Oilers fans as the ‘McFarlane Jersey’. At one time, McFarlane’s company, McFarlane Toys, made a line of NHL action figures.

McFarlane Jersey

Super Fan: Ben Stelter gained the attention of fans across the NHL and even those who don’t follow hockey when he became associated with the team. Stelter, who was fighting a form of brain cancer, brought such good luck to the Oilers, they went on a 10-game undefeated streak when the six-year-old was in the building. Sadly, Stelter passed away in August 2022 and he was mourned across the league.

Mascot: Hunter is a Canadian lynx who was first introduced for the 2016-17 season. Named after William ‘Wild Bill’ Hunter, one of the original owners of the franchise, Hunter wears jersey number 72, in homage of the team’s first year of play. Hunter’s favourite songs are Cat Scratch Fever and The Good Ole Hockey Game, while his preferred movies are The Aritsocats and Slapshot.

Tradition: The Blue Mile (aka Copper Kilometre) first became the celebration area for Oilers fans following their upset of the Detroit Red Wings, en route to the team’s 2006 Stanley Cup Finals run. The strip, found along Whyte Avenue in the Old Strathcona District of Edmonton, became a place of concern following the arrest of at least 350 people during the 2006 playoffs. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel even threatened to shutdown the Blue Mile if the violence continued.

Appearances in Media: The Oilers jersey has appeared on a few TV shows, including Everybody Hates Chris, Robot Chicken and The Simpsons (worn by noted Oilers celebrity supporter Kevin Smith). It should also be mentioned Wayne Gretzky, an avid soap opera fan, made a 1981 cameo appearance on The Young and the Restless as a mob member from “the Edmonton operation”.

Ben Stelter

Events/Scandals: The 1988 trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings was much more than a sports story. Even the Canadian government got involved in the fracas, while an effigy of owner Peter Pocklington was burned in public. Speaking of Pocklington, prior to selling the team in May 1998 to local investors, he threatened to move the franchise to places such as Hamilton and Minneapolis and almost sold to Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander, who planned to move the club to Houston, Texas.

Rivalry: Of course, there’s the Battle of Alberta with the Calgary Flames. This resulted in some of the greatest hockey of the 1980s, with one team playing in each Stanley Cup final from 1983 to 1990. The Oilers also had a long feud with the Los Angeles Kings, intensified after Wayne Gretzky was traded to L.A. The Oilers and Kings have met in the playoffs seven times. Another rival of the Oilers was the original Winnipeg Jets, dating back to the two teams’ WHA history.

Tragedy: On April 6, 2020, as the NHL season was paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oilers center Colby Cave became ill. A brain bleed was later discovered and operated on, while Cave was placed into a medically-induced coma. Sadly, Cave never came out of the coma and died on April 11. In response, the Oilers created the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, which runs a number of programs to help the community.

Player Nicknames: Wayne Gretzky has long been known as ‘The Great One’. According to Gretzky, the moniker has stuck with him since he was 10 years old. The name is fitting, as many believe Gretzky is the greatest to ever lace up a pair of skates. When Gretzky retired from hockey, he held an astonishing 61 NHL records. Gretzky continues to be a voice in the game, as a TV analyst.

Great One

Line: The Oilers have had some lethal two-player combos over the years, including Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri, Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Gretzky and Kurri found success with Mike Krushelnyski and Esa Tikkanen, Messier and Anderson with Matti Hagman and Ken Linesman, and McDavid and Draisaitl with Pat Maroon and Zack Kassian.

Captain: Connor McDavid is already the Oilers longest-tenured captain, despite being only eight seasons into his own career. For his sophomore year, in 2016, McDavid was named captain, becoming the youngest ever to wear the ‘C’ in NHL history. McDavid is the consensus best player in the game today, winning five Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards and one Rocket Richard Trophy. No wonder he’s been nicknamed McJesus.

Enforcer: When you have the greatest player of all-time in your lineup, you have to surround him with tough guys for protection. Dave Semenko, nicknamed ‘Cement Head’ for being able to take a ton of damage and not be fazed, was perfect in this role. Semenko was later replaced by Marty McSorely, who would leave the Oilers with Gretzky to continue watching his back in Los Angeles.

Family Values: A number of father-son duos have played for the Oilers during their respective careers. This includes Keith and Will Acton, Brian and Matt Benning, Kevin and Keegan Lowe, Frank and David Musil, Kent and Robert Nilsson, and Craig and Dillon Simpson. Of the duos listed, the Lowes have the greatest combined games played total with 1,039, although Keegan only accounts for two of those contests.

Dave Semenko

Returning Players: When Ryan Smyth was traded out of Edmonton at the 2007 trade deadline, following 12 season with the Oilers, a tearful, emotional press conference followed. After playing four seasons elsewhere, Smyth requested to be traded back to the Oilers and was granted his wish. After three more years with Edmonton, Smyth decided to hang up the skates, being named the Oilers captain for his final NHL game.

Short Stint: A number of important players have only lasted one season with the Oilers. First, Jimmy Carson, who was the main player piece returning to Edmonton in the Wayne Gretzky deal, grew disgruntled having to live up to Gretzky’s lofty standards and wanted to move on after a single campaign. Next, Chris Pronger was brought to the Oilers in a 2005 trade, leading the team to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, but requested a trade out of Edmonton, following that lone season.

Undrafted: While I’d like to put Wayne Gretzky here, he was technically brought into professional hockey by the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers, playing only eight games for them at 17 years old, before being sold to the Oilers. Instead, we’ll go with Charlie Huddy, who was signed by Edmonton in 1979. He would go on to become one of only seven players to be part of all five Oilers Stanley Cup championship teams.

Trade: In the trade that changed the landscape of the entire NHL, the Oilers sent superstar Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft picks and $15 million. Gretzky’s move to the U.S. helped hockey grow immensely there. Following the deal, many now say “If Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can be traded!”

Gretzky Trade

Signing: The summer of 2016 saw a number of awful contracts handed out and the Oilers were among the teams to fall into this trap, giving winger Milan Lucic a seven-year, $42 million deal. After three seasons of declining returns, Lucic was traded to Calgary for fellow bad contract recipient James Neal. Another questionable signing was the three-year, $13.5 million pact handed to goalie Mikko Koskinen from GM Peter Chiarelli, who would be fired just days later.

Draft Pick: The Oilers reeled in massive hauls in the 1979 and 1980 drafts, gathering the talent that, along with Wayne Gretzky, would lead them to a dynastic run. This included Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson in 1979 and Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Andy Moog in 1980. They also had a string of first overall selections from 2010 to 2015, highlighted by generational talent Connor McDavid (2015), especially when paired with Leon Draisaitl (third overall in 2014).

Holdouts: A number of the 1980s dynasty members ended up staging holdouts for various reasons. In each case, the player was eventually dealt to another team, with defenseman Paul Coffey going to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987, goalie Andy Moog sent to the Boston Bruins in 1988, Mark Messier leaving for the New York Rangers in 1991, and Jari Kurri ending up with the Los Angeles King also in 1991.

Buyouts: The biggest buyout the Oilers have handed out was to James Neal. After coming to Edmonton in the previously mentioned trade for Milan Lucic, Neal played two seasons for the Oilers, before they pulled the plug on the failed experiment. The organization owed Neal $7.66 million spread over four years. Neal attempted to continue his career, joining the St. Louis Blues for 19 games in 2021-22, scoring twice.

Draft Picks

Unique Game: The first regular season outdoor NHL game took place with the 2003 Heritage Classic, when the Oilers faced the Montreal Canadiens. 57,167 fans braved freezing temperatures to watch the contest, which the Oilers lost 4-3. Edmonton also played the 2016 Heritage Classic versus the Winnipeg Jets, winning 3-0. The Oilers will play the 2023 Heritage Classic this October against the Calgary Flames.

Goal: When one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time wore your team’s jersey during the prime of his career, some of those tallies are going to be among the most memorable in franchise history. Among Wayne Gretzky’s many feats, perhaps one of the most notable was hitting the 50-goal plateau in only 39 games. To set the record for fastest to 50, Gretzky scored five times against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 30, 1981. He would finish that season with 92 goals, another record likely to never be broken.

Fight/Brawl: Speaking of The Great One, he certainly wasn’t a fighter, which made his December 1982 tilt with Neal Broten of the Minnesota North Stars notable. Gretzky only “fought” three times in his career, with this being the only bout that occurred during a televised game. It didn’t last very long, with Broten landing a few punches before the linesmen intervened. It should be noted, Gretzky dropped his gloves first.

Injury: The Oilers have had some scary incidents with skate cuts in recent times. First, in warm up for a January 2012 game, Taylor Hall slipped and teammate Corey Potter was forced to leap over him. Potter’s skate sliced Hall’s head, resulting in a nasty gash that needed 30 stitches to seal. Later, during a November 2022 game, Evander Kane had his wrist accidentally cut by an opponent’s skate, with emergency surgery needed to fix the wound.

Gretzky Fight

Penalty: The record for most combined penalties in a game belongs to the Oilers and Los Angeles Kings, who accumulated a total of 86 penalties (356 penalty minutes) during a February 28, 1990 contest. The penalties were split fairly evenly between the two clubs. Individually, Marty McSorley led the way with 37 penalty minutes, fighting three times during the match. If anyone cares – the players didn’t seem to! – the Kings won 4-2.

Wildest Story: The Oilers owe their NHL existence to the fact Wayne Gretzky was a member of the team for the NHL-WHA merger. But how did the 17-year-old prodigy became property of the franchise? The story goes, Indianapolis Racers owner Nelson Skalbania boarded a plane with Gretzky, with possible destinations including Edmonton or the Winnipeg Jets. When Jets owner Michael Gobuty declined a game of backgammon, with Gretzky/shares in the Jets at stake, the flight landed in Edmonton and the rest is history.

Blooper: The Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. What happened in 1986 to break up what could have been a five-year dynastic run? While trying to make a play from behind his own net, defenseman Steve Smith banked the puck off goalie Grant Fuhr for an own goal. The marker would end up being the deciding goal of Game 7 of the second round, sending the Calgary Flames to the Conference Final.

Miscellaneous: Joey Moss joined the Oilers locker room staff in the mid-1980s, at the suggestion of Wayne Gretzky, who was dating Moss’ sister at the time. Moss, born with Down syndrome, quickly impressed with his hard work, also joining the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos. Sadly, Moss passed away in 2020, at the age of 57. In recent years, after home wins, La Bamba by Ritchie Valens (Moss’ favourite song) is played. Also, the Oilers outdoor playoff game viewing area is known as the Moss Pit.

Edmonton Oilers: The 99

The 99

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Float of Red Wine

I found this drink on the Liquor Control Board of Ontario website and it uses Wayne Gretzky branded whiskey and wine. Another easy-to-make Oilers-themed beverage that caught my attention was the Orange Crush of vodka, orange juice and lemon-lime soda.

Detroit Red Wings – Detroit Red Wing

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we cruise the Motor City and get a crash course on the Detroit Red Wings:

Establishment Story: One of the NHL’s Original Six franchises, the Red Wings were founded in 1926. The franchise began life as the Cougars (after buying players from the Victoria Cougars Western Hockey League team to begin operations), then Falcons, before finally settling on Red Wings in 1932. The change to Red Wings was initiated by new owner James Norris, who liked the ‘winged-wheel’ logo of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association and thought it fit well with Detroit’s Motor City nickname.

Stanley Cups: The Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups, the most of any American NHL team. The team qualified for the playoffs for 25 straight seasons, from 1983-84 to 2015-16, one of the longest streaks in NHL history. They won four of their Stanley Cups during this run. The Red Wings success in the mid 1990s, led to the team registering the trademark Hockeytown for the city of Detroit.

Celebrity Fan: Musician Kid Rock has had a long association with the Red Wings. The Michigan native even wrote and recorded one of the team’s goal songs ‘Hey Hey Hockeytown’. Kid Rock has often appeared at games and celebrated Stanley Cup wins with the likes of Chris Chelios, along with being the act that opened Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena in 2017, with four consecutive concerts.

Kid Rock

Super Fan: Heather ‘Wing-Nut’ Petrie, who is recognizable for her red hair, hat, jacket, tutu, and car, attended every Detroit home game from December 23, 2014 until the pandemic. From Windsor, Ontario, which has a large pocket of Red Wings supporters, given its proximity to Detroit, Petrie was named Windsor’s biggest Red Wings fan in a 2019 radio contest and was a finalist in the 2021 Upper Deck My MVP contest.

Mascot: Al the Octopus isn’t your typical costumed mascot, but an inflatable one that is used to pump up the crowd as the Red Wings take the ice. The prop is then lifted to the arena’s rafters. Wearing jersey number 8, a reference to an octopi’s eight tentacles, Al is missing a tooth, completing the hockey player look. Detroit’s previous mascot was the Red Winger, appearing from 1982 to 1987.

Tradition: The Legend of the Octopus dates back to 1952, when fish market owner Peter Cusimano tossed one onto the Detroit ice, the octopi’s eight legs signifying the number of wins it took at that time to win the Stanley Cup. Former ice manager Al Sobotka is best associated with the present tradition, which included him swinging the octopi around after collecting it from the ice.

Appearances in Media: A number of characters in TV shows and films have donned a Red Wings jersey, long thought to be one of the best sweaters in all of sports. Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Joey from Full House and Dr. Cox from Scrubs each wore the famous winged-wheel kit. Even Homer Simpson has sported a Detroit jersey, with his wearing being a throwback to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Al the Octopus

Events/Scandals: The seeds for the NHL Players’ Association were planted by long-time Red Wings star Ted Lindsay (along with Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens). Due to their association with the union efforts, Lindsay and Harvey faced punishments of sorts, as both were traded away and dealt with threats from the league and team owners, along with strained relationships with teammates. A TV movie on the subject, titled Net Worth, was released in 1995.

Rivalry: As one of the oldest teams in the NHL, the Red Wings have made many enemies along the way. The list includes former division rival the Chicago Blackhawks, repeated playoff foes the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins, and cross border adversaries the Toronto Maple Leafs. All of these rivalries have had their ebbs and flows over the years, particularly with the Red Wings current downturn.

Tragedy: Following a team party just six days after clinching the 1997 Stanley Cup, a limo transporting defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov crashed. Konstantinov suffered a brain injury and was in a coma for two months. The injuries forced Konstantinov’s retirement from hockey at only 30 years old and in the prime of his career. Making matters worse, the limo driver, who fell asleep, causing the accident, was driving on a suspended license for drunk driving.

Player Nicknames: When you’re called Mr. Hockey, as Red Wings icon Gordie Howe was, that means you’re synonymous with the sport. Howe had the moniker trademarked, along with Mrs. Hockey for his wife Colleen. Other nicknames given to Howe throughout his career include Mr. Everything, Mr. All-Star, The Great Gordie, The King of Hockey, The Legend, The Man, and Mr. Elbows.

Mr. Hockey

Line: The Red Wings not only had a famous line of forwards, they had a complete unit of players that were often iced together. Dubbed the Russian Five, the group consisted of Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Slava Fetisov. A later homage to the Russian Five was the Swedish Five, comprised of Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Mikael Samuelsson, and Tomas Holmstrom.

Captain: Steve Yzerman was only 21 years old when he was named captain of the Red Wings in 1986. He would serve the team in that role for the rest of his career, retiring in 2006. Yzerman’s 19 seasons and 1,303 games as captain is the longest tenure in North American sports history. His mark on Detroit saw him once voted the most popular athlete in the city’s long and storied sports history.

Enforcer: Perhaps the greatest and most feared fighter in NHL history was Bob Probert. He patrolled the ice for the Red Wings for nine seasons and holds the franchise records for penalty minutes in a season and total penalty minutes. Probert’s main task was to protect stars like Steve Yzerman. When paired with fellow fighter Joey Kocur, the two were known as the Bruise Brothers.

Family Values: Frank ‘Big M’ and Pete ‘Little M’ Mahovlich played for the Red Wings from 1967 to 1969, while Frank was a superstar and Pete (Detroit’s 2nd overall draft pick in 1963) was breaking into the league. Similarly, Bryan and Dennis Hextall were teammates during part of the 1975-76 season. The Red Wings have also had a handful of father-son combos play for the team, most notably, Gordie and Mark Howe.

Russian Five

Returning Players: Legendary goalie Terry Sawchuk did three tours of duty with the Red Wings over his 21-season career. He was signed by Detroit in 1947, debuting in 1950. After a stint with the Boston Bruins, Sawchuk returned to the Red Wings in 1957. He was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1964 NHL Intra-League Draft, also suiting up for the expansion Los Angeles Kings, before playing a final 13 contests for Detroit in 1968-69. Sawchuk died in 1970, following one season with the New York Rangers.

Short Stint: Derian Hatcher had a curious stint with the Red Wings. Despite signing a five-year, $30 million contract with Detroit in 2003, Hatcher only played 15 games with the franchise. He was injured early in the 2003-04 season, with the following campaign wiped out by the NHL lockout. When teams prepared to return to action with the newly introduced salary cap, the remaining years of Hatcher’s contract were bought out.

Undrafted: When the Red Wings signed Adam Oates in 1985, they landed a future Hall of Fame member, even if he made a name for himself elsewhere. Oates chose Detroit over other offers, with his $1.1 million contract making him the highest paid rookie in the NHL in his debut campaign. The Red Wings traded Oates to the St. Louis Blues in 1989, in what is regarded as one of the worst trades in franchise history.

Trade: The acquisition of Brendan Shanahan in 1996 is a move that is often cited as one that pushed the Red Wings over the hump in the late 1990s, leading to three Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Shanahan came to Detroit along with Brian Glynn, in exchange for Keith Primeau, Paul Coffey and a first-round draft pick. Shanahan played a total of nine seasons with the Red Wings, racking up 633 points in 716 games.

Brendan Shanahan

Signing: Looking to load up for another Stanley Cup run, in the 2001 off-season, the Red Wings signed two of the greatest goal scorers in league history, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, each to two-year pacts. Both players took less money from Detroit, in order to join a star-studded squad. They were rewarded with winning the 2002 Stanley Cup, where Hull led the NHL in playoff goals.

Draft Pick: The Red Wings greatest draft pick was taking Steve Yzerman fourth overall in 1983. The team can also be credited with one of the best draft classes ever in 1989, when they selected Nicklas Lidstrom (54th overall), Sergei Fedorov (74th overall) and Vladimir Konstantinov (221st overall). The Red Wings have also done very well finding diamonds in the rough, including Tomas Holmstrom (257th overall in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (171st overall in 1998) and Henrik Zetterberg (210th overall in 1999).

Holdouts: Sergei Fedorov’s 1997-98 holdout would lead to the largest single season payment to an NHL player. The Carolina Hurricanes signed Fedorov to a $38 million offer sheet, which was matched by Detroit. Federov received a $14 million signing bonus, $2 million base salary and $12 million bonus for the Red Wings making the Conference Finals. A total of $28 million for 21 regular season games and 22 playoff contests, but Fedorov did lead Detroit in goals as they won their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Buyouts: The Red Wings have twice bought out contracts with three years remaining on them. First, in 2015, they parted ways with Stephen Weiss, two seasons into a five-year deal. They owed him $10 million over the next six years. Later, in 2020, lifetime Red Wing Justin Abdelkader was released four years into a seven-year pact. He is being paid out $6.33 million, spread out until 2025-26.

Steve Yzerman

Unique Game: The first NHL games to take place outside North America occurred when the Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens toured Europe in 1938 for a nine-game exhibition series. The contests took place in London and Brighton, United Kingdom, as well as Paris, France. Detroit also played a 1954 game at Marquette Branch Prison, defeating the Marquette Prison Pirates 18-0 (they stopped keeping score after the first period). This was the first outdoor game ever for an NHL team.

Goal: When the Red Wings battled the star-loaded St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 1996 playoffs, the series went to a seventh game, taking until double overtime to finally be decided. The end came, when Steve Yzerman stole the puck – from Wayne Gretzky, no less – and ripped a slap shot past Blues goalie Jon Casey. Another famous tally was Darren McCarty’s 1997 Stanley Cup clincher versus the Philadelphia Flyers.

Fight/Brawl: Many tales exist about the legendary Gordie Howe. Among them, is his fight with Lou Fontinato, one of the most feared combatants of the era. The two players had feuded for some time, but on February 1, 1959, Howe cemented his status as a player not to be pushed around, pounding Fontinato’s face, resulting in a broken nose and dislocated jaw. The sound of the punches was described as like an axe chopping wood.

Injury: On November 21, 2005, during a game against the Nashville Predators, Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer went into cardiac arrest, collapsing on the bench. Fischer was unconscious for six minutes, needing CPR and a defibrillator to be revived. The contest became the first in NHL history postponed due to an injury. Fischer never played in the league again, moving into the role of Director of Player Development with Detroit.


Penalty: On November 5, 1975, Dan Maloney came to the defense of teammate Bryan Hextall, after he was hit by Brian Glennie of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Maloney repeatedly punched and slammed Glennie to the ice, resulting in a concussion. In the aftermath, Maloney became the third player in NHL history to be charged with assault for an on-ice incident, although he was acquitted months later.

Wildest Story: In 1993, Kris Draper was acquired by the Red Wings for a whopping $1. To that point, Draper had only played 20 NHL games for the Winnipeg Jets, since being drafted in 1989. Draper would go onto become one of Detroit’s mainstays through the successful 1990s and 2000s, playing 1,137 games with the club and being a member of four Stanley Cup championship squads.

Blooper: Two playoff gaffes by goalie Chris Osgood are well-remembered by Red Wings fans. First, in 1994, the rookie netminder went to clear the puck late in the seventh game of their first round series versus the San Jose Sharks, only to play it to an opponent, who quickly scored the deciding goal. Next, in the 1998 Western Conference Finals, Jamie Langenbrunner of the Dallas Stars scored the game five overtime winner from center ice on Osgood. The Red Wings still went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Miscellaneous: In 1985, Petr Klima (drafted 86th overall in 1983 by Detroit) became the first player to defect from Czechoslovakia to a U.S.-based NHL team, with the help of Red Wings officials Jim Lites and Nick Polano. In his escape, Klima had to avoid police and request refugee status in the U.S. In honour of his successful move to North America, Klima wore jersey number 85 throughout his career.

Detroit Red Wings: Detroit Red Wing

Detroit Red Wing

  • 1.5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries

Another Red Wings cocktails combines Raspberry Vodka, Lemon-Lime Soda and Grenadine. The beverage I selected seemed to be the most popular option, with drinkers supposed to use Vernors Ginger Ale, a Detroit-area favourite soda, first served in 1866.

Dallas Stars – Dallas Stars Shot

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we travel to Texas, where everything’s bigger, including the Dallas Stars:

Establishment Story: Dallas received an NHL team when the Minnesota Stars relocated there in 1993. The franchise kept the Stars nickname, as it seemed to fit with Texas (Lone Star State), just as much as it did with Minnesota, which was originally named the North Stars. Minnesota joined the NHL for the 1967 expansion, which doubled the league from six to 12 teams. In 1978, the North Stars and the Cleveland Barons (previously the California Golden Seals) merged, remaining in Minnesota.

Stanley Cups: Dallas has a lone Stanley Cup to its name, winning the big one in 1999, defeating the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, the victory is largely remembered for its controversial ending (more on that later). The Stars have appeared in four other Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the New York Islanders in 1981, Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, New Jersey Devils in 2000 and Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020.

Celebrity Fan: Actress/singer/model/reality TV personality Willa Ford took her fandom of the Stars to new heights when she married team legend Mike Modano in 2007. The couple were together for five years, before announcing their amicable split. While a couple, Ford and Modano were featured in an episode of MTV Cribs. Ford also wrote a blog for ESPN during the 2007 playoffs.

North Stars

Super Fan: Two supporters, for very different reasons, have gained the attention of Stars fans and media over the last couple years. First, um… curvy model (yeah, let’s go with that) Natalie Gauvreau gained viral popularity when she was spotted sitting behind the Dallas bench during the 2022 playoffs. On the other end of the spectrum, nine-year-old Max Hinojosa, who is unable to play hockey due to his battle with Myelomonocitic Leukemia, was signed to a two-day contract by the team.

Mascot: Victor E. Green is an out-of-this-world supporter of the Stars, with hockey stick antennas. The alien, from a galaxy far, far away, is named after the Dallas jersey colour of victory green. Victor is the first mascot in franchise history, debuting for the 2014-15 season. His favourite movies include E.T., Monsters Inc. and Wall-E, films I assume he watches with his documented roommate the Zamboni.

Tradition: Many of the Stars rituals are music-based. During the singing of the American national anthem, anytime the word ‘stars’ comes up, Dallas fans loudly shout the word. Next, the team takes the ice at the start of each game to Puck Off (aka Dallas Stars Fight Song) by Texas metal band Pantera. Finally, the club’s victory song is The House is Rockin’ by Texas musicians Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

Appearances in Media: With The Mighty Ducks being set in Minnesota, it made sense for some North Stars players to make cameo appearances in the film. Basil McRae and Mike Modano were selected to chat with the rag tag group of kids and coach Gordon Bombay, following their watching of a Minnesota practice. McRae and Modano were credited as North Star Player #1 and North Star Player #2, respectively.


Events/Scandals: In 1990, Minnesota owners George and Gordon Gund wished to relocate the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area. This was denied by the NHL, with an expansion team offered to the Gunds instead. The result was a rare dispersal draft, with players being divided between the new San Jose Sharks and the North Stars, followed by an expansion draft with both clubs participating. Famously, Minnesota used their final selection on NHL legend Guy Lafleur, who had already decided to retire.

Rivalry: While the franchise was still located in Minnesota, the Stars had a long-standing feud with the Chicago Blackhawks. Another rival of the Stars is the St. Louis Blues. Both teams joined the NHL as part of the 1967 expansion and have shared the same division for much of their existences. The two clubs have met in the playoffs 14 times.

Tragedy: Tragedy struck early for the Minnesota/Dallas franchise. In the team’s first year of operating, center Bill Masterton was involved in a collision, falling backwards and hitting his head on the ice. He died two days later from a severe brain injury. Masterton is the only player in NHL history to die from injuries suffered in a game. The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who best displays perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.

Player Nicknames: When Jamie Benn joined the Dallas Stars as a rookie for the 2009-10 campaign, he was given the nickname Chubbs by teammate James Neal. Instead of being upset about the comment on his playing weight, Benn embraced the moniker, even getting it written on his gloves, where his last name would typically go. Benn has played his entire 14-season career with Dallas, captaining the squad since 2013.

Jamie Benn

Line: A top line for the Stars during their time at the top of the league in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the trio of Mike Modano, Brett Hull, and Jere Lehtinen. Around the same time, The Grumpy Old Men unit of Kirk Muller, John MacLean and Mike Keane was very productive, despite being a combined 105 years old. More recently, the combo of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov enjoyed success together.

Captain: Hard-hitting defenseman Derian Hatcher was captain of the Stars when they won the 1999 Stanley Cup, becoming the first American-born captain to lead his team to the championship. Hatcher wore the ‘C’ for Dallas from 1995 to 2003. Including his time with the franchise while it was located in Minnesota, Hatcher played 12 seasons for the Stars and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

Enforcer: The pair of Basil McRae and Shane Churla were forces to be reckoned with, playing four seasons together. Over McCrae’s five seasons with Minnesota, he took over the records for both most penalty minutes in a season (378) and total (1,567) for the franchise. Churla suited up for eight seasons with Minnesota/Dallas and now holds the franchise record for total penalty minutes at 1,883.

Family Values: The Stars have had a number of brother combos play for the team at the same time. Most notably, three members of the Broten family, Neal, Aaron and Paul, suited up for the Stars, with Neal playing with both brothers at different times. Also, Kevin and Derian Hatcher patrolled the Dallas blueline from 1994 to 1996 together and Jamie and Jordie Benn were teammates from 2012 to 2017.

Basil McRae

Returning Players: Defenseman Darryl Sydor played three separate stints with the Stars. He first joined Dallas via trade in 1996, playing seven and a half seasons with the club. In the 2003 off-season, Sydor was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, before ending up with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He rejoined Dallas for the 2006-07 campaign and again in 2008-09, sandwiching time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Short Stint: Two trade deadline acquisitions should be noted here. Tim Thomas finished his career as a member of the Stars, playing eight games with the team in 2014, after coming over to serve as Dallas’ backup goalie. Another interesting tenure was that of Mats Zuccarello, who came to the Stars in 2019, but only played two games before being injured. He did return for 13 playoff contests, before signing with the Minnesota Wild in the off-season.

Undrafted: Dino Ciccarelli was signed by Minnesota in September 1979, joining the big league team in 1981. He would play the next eight seasons with the North Stars, filling nets with pucks, including two 50-goal seasons. Ciccarelli finished his tenure with Minnesota with 332 goals and 319 assists for 651 points, good for third all-time with the club. Ciccarelli was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

Trade: While they gave up a major asset in top prospect Jarome Iginla to get him, the acquisition of Joe Nieuwendyk would eventually lead to Stanley Cup glory for the Stars. Another deal that fortified the Stars lineup and reaped the rewards of a Stanley Cup, was bringing in defenseman Sergei Zubov, swapped for fellow rearguard Kevin Hatcher, prior to the 1996-97 season.

Dino Ciccarelli

Signing: Looking to take the next step in their pursuit of a Stanley Cup, in back-to-back off-seasons, the Stars signed players that would be crucial to their 1999 championship. First, on July 2, 1997, Dallas signed goaltender Ed Belfour to a three-year deal worth reportedly $10 million per season. Exactly one year later, the Stars brought in Brett Hull on another three-year $17 million pact.

Draft Pick: The Stars have selected first overall on three occasions. Those choices could perhaps be called the great, the good and the ugly, with Mike Modano (1988), Bobby Smith (1978) and Brian Lawton (1983), receiving the rankings, respectively. Although too recent to fully assess, the 2017 draft for Dallas looks like a grand slam, with the team picking Miro Heiskanen (3rd overall), Jake Oettinger (26th overall) and Jason Robertson (39th overall).

Holdouts: Coming out of the 2012-13 NHL lockout, Jamie Benn remained unsigned by the Stars. He would miss the first four games of the shortened season, before signing a five-year, $26.25 million deal with Dallas. This wasn’t the first time the franchise struggled to sign a top star, as in 1991, Neal Broten began the season playing in Germany, before returning to Minnesota.

Buyouts: Valeri Nichushkin was drafted 10th overall in 2013 by the Stars and joined the team in his draft season. When his entry-level contract expired, a new deal failed to come together and Nichushkin played two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. He finally returned to Dallas in 2018, but after failing to score a single goal in 57 games that season, the final year of his deal was bought out.

Ed Belfour

Unique Game: The Stars played the 2020 Winter Classic against the Nashville Predators at the infamous Cotton Bowl in Dallas. They won the game 4-2, in front of a crowd of 85,630 fans, the second highest attendance in NHL history. The Stars also participated in the 1977–78 tour of Czechoslovakia and Super Series; 1980 DN-Cup in Stockholm, Sweden; 1982-83 Super Series; 1985-86 Super Series, 1988-89 Super Series, 1989-90 Super Series; 1990 Friendship Tour across the USSR; and 1990-91 Super Series.

Goal: The only goal in franchise history that earned the Stars the coveted Stanley Cup has to take this category. Brett Hull’s third overtime tally in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Buffalo Sabres came with the controversy of Hull having his foot in the crease, which had previously caused goals to be disallowed. Nevertheless, the score counted and made Hull a hero.

Fight/Brawl: On February 26, 1981, Minnesota and the Boston Bruins combined for 406 penalty minutes, setting an NHL record at the time. The first fight occurred just seven seconds into the game and the first period took one hour and 37 minutes to complete, with an NHL record 67 penalties (341 penalty minutes) added to the scoresheet. Following the contest, Minnesota and Boston coaches Glen Sonmor and Gerry Cheevers almost fought, as well.

Injury: Stars forward Rich Peverley’s scary cardiac incident during a March 10, 2014 game still haunts players and fans who experienced it. Peverley, 31 years old at the time, collapsed on the bench due to a previously diagnosed irregular heartbeat. His heart rate actually flatlined for two minutes, before he was revived by medical officials. Despite a complete recovery, Peverley never played another NHL game, moving into other roles with the organization.

Rich Peverley

Penalty: During a January 6, 1988 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, North Stars forward Dino Ciccarelli attacked Maple Leafs rookie Luke Richardson with his stick. Ciccarelli was ejected from the game and suspended by the NHL for 10 days. His punishment didn’t stop there, though, as Ciccarelli was convicted of assault by a Toronto court and sentenced to one day in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Wildest Story: Sean Avery was one of the most controversial players in NHL history, bringing trouble with him wherever he went. That didn’t stop the Stars from signing him to a four-year, $15.5 million contract in 2008, although the experiment only lasted 23 games, before Avery was sent packing. The issue: Avery made derogatory remarks about other players dating his ex-girlfriends, earning him a six-game suspension and enrollment in a counselling program.

Blooper: During a January 4, 2007 game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Stars were up 5-4 with seconds remaining, when Patrik Stefan moved in on an empty net to seal the victory. Except Stefan lost control of the puck and the Oilers took it the other way, scoring to tie the contest. TV analyst Ray Ferraro said the incident was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever seen and that Stefan should be embarrassed.

Miscellaneous: One of the most curious trades in NHL history occurred on November 22, 1990, when Minnesota goalie Kari Takko was swapped with defenseman Bruce Bell of the Edmonton Oilers. The Takko Bell Trade, as it was dubbed, a play on the Taco Bell fast food chain, resulted in 11 games played by Takko with Edmonton and Bell playing out the rest of his career in the minor leagues and Europe.

Dallas Stars: Dallas Stars Shot

Dallas Stars Shot

  • 0.75 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.75 oz Goldschlager

You can substitute Green Crème de Menthe for the Melon Liqueur, if you desire. I like how the flakes in Goldschlager are supposed to resemble stars floating amongst the green liquor… until they all settle at the bottom, at least. I put the shooter in my cowboy boot shot glass to complete the presentation!

Sip Trips #221: Science Fact

April was a fairly laid back month, at least in comparison with our typical breakneck speed. Still, there’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:

We spent the Easter extra long weekend at a cabin in Manning Park. On the way there, we popped into Sidekick Brewing, which has a selection of amazing deep dish pizzas to go along with their beers. We ordered the Classic Pepperoni and Smokey Hawaiian pizzas to eat, while I drank the Barb Caramel Cookie Brown Ale, followed by sharing the Sister Mary Patrick Belgian Dubbel with Mrs. Sip, who also tried a flight comprised of the Forgivable Roomie Rhonda Hazy Pale Ale, Aspiring Mixologist Toby Cranberry Lime Sour, First Mate Nate Tropical Stout and Lucas Dark Lager with Cacao Nibs.

For our cabin stay, amongst a horde of other beverage options, we purchased the new Nutrl Tropical Mixed Pack, with three each of pineapple, mango, watermelon, peach, and grapefruit flavours. I find myself leaning towards vodka sodas more and more in my drinking habits, especially when Mrs. Sip is doing keto dieting.


On our way home from the Manning Park, we popped into Old Abbey Ales. Mrs. Sip and I each put together a flight of their eclectic options. My set included the Beerzer Tomato Basil Kolsch, Hipsters Paradise Spinach + Kale Sour, Dirty Blonde Cardamom Blonde Ale and Juicy Caboosey White IPA, while Mrs. Sip selected the Sippy Chai Aye Chai Tea Lager, Wee Peachy Peach Cobbler Wheat Ale, Orange You Glad I’m Beer and Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Sour. We also bought a four-pack of the Old Abbey and Storm Brewing collab Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ale.

That week, prior to taking Girl Sip to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, we had dinner at the Cactus Club in Coquitlam. Girl Sip and I shared an order of the Mini Burgers, paired with some Truffle Fries. I also had a pair of Ugly Wheat Ales, reminding me of how much I like that beer.

A few days later, I had time to kill as my vehicle was in for servicing, so I grabbed lunch at the Willowbrook White Spot. Sitting at the bar, watching a muted NHL playoff game, I had a very good meal of their Legendary Burger with Caesar Salad and a Camp Cucumber Kolsch, which was refreshing and tasty.


Towards the end of the month, Girl Sip had a school Pro D Day, so we took the Sipplings to Science World for a few hours of exploration and play. Following that, we walked over to Brewhall for a meal. The Sip Family shared some Chicken Strips and a Cheeseburger, both with Curly Fries. I also had two Hall Pass IPAs on Happy Hour pricing. To wrap the meal, we ordered the decadent Oreo Ice Cream Cake, which all four of us were fighting for bites over.

A few days later, we closed out April with a bang, returning to Science World for their annual Science of Cocktails charity event. General admission tickets were $185 each (VIP tix were $289), offering 30 bar stations and a host of food tastings. Companies involved included: Jack Daniels, Appleton, Beefeater, Tito’s, Flor de Cana, Campari, and many more. My favourite cocktails of the night included Petrichor Daiquiri, Smoked Old Fashioned and Clarified Smoky Paloma. I even walked away with a pack of Ms. Better’s Bitters. Afterwards, Mrs. Sip asked me if I thought the price was worth it and I’m still grappling with my answer. Yes, it’s very expensive, but you have all-inclusive access to some amazing specialty cocktails and nibbles. Given we wouldn’t go every year because of price, though, I’d have to say it’s an amazing event that is a touch overpriced. When we last went in 2016, we paid $145 each, which feels like a good rate by 2023 standards.

May is already filling up, highlighted by the Sip Family’s debut at Great Wolf Lodge, as well as Cinco De Mayo and Mother’s Day celebrations. Looks like it will be another busy month!

Columbus Blue Jackets – Blue Jacket

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we march into Ohio to find out what the Columbus Blue Jackets are all about:

Establishment Story: The Blue Jackets joined the NHL as an expansion team in 2000. Previously, the only NHL team to play in Ohio was the Cleveland Barons, which operated from 1976 to 1978. The team’s name comes from Columbus’ involvement in the American Civil War. The other name considered for the franchise, through a name the team contest held by Wendy’s restaurants in the area, was Justice.

Stanley Cups: The Blue Jackets have only won one playoff series ever, but it was notable. In the first round of the 2019 post-season, the Blue Jackets achieved the unthinkable, not only defeating the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, but sweeping the series. It’s the only time in NHL history a President’s Trophy winner has been swept in the opening round and is known in team folklore as ‘The Sweep’.

Celebrity Fan: TV personality Erin Andrews, best known for her work as a National Football League sideline reporter, has been spotted at some Columbus games, rocking a Blue Jackets jersey. Andrews has even designed a line of Blue Jackets clothing for women, called WEAR. The line includes hoodies, pajama sets and button-up shirts. Andrews is married to former NHL player Jarret Stoll.

The Sweep

Super Fan: Described as the Blue Jackets biggest fan, Dancing Kevin (aka Kevin Schroeder) was known for his shirtless dance moves, with various slogans of support painted across his stomach and back. He would also, at times, pour beers all over his face to ignite the Columbus crowd. In 2016, Schroeder managed to lose 160 pounds over nine months, which the team he supports to this day celebrated.

Mascot: Stinger is a yellowjacket bug, so when mixed with Columbus blue, he has turned bright green with menacing red eyes. Stinger wears jersey number 00, representing the year 2000, when the Blue Jackets joined the NHL. Naturally, Stinger’s dislikes include bug zappers, raid and fly swatters. Columbus also had a secondary mascot, a cannon named Boomer, but that only lasted for half of the 2010-11 season.

Tradition: The Blue Jackets in-game experience is best known for the replica cannon inside Nationwide Arena, which was added for the 2007-08 season. The cannon is fired after each Columbus goal and also when the team takes the ice before the game and if they win the contest. To go along with the cannon blast, AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) is played.

Appearances in Media: The only thing I can find for this category is a 2017 Finnish TV show called Amanda ja pelimiehet (Amanda and Gamers, according to Google translate), which saw host Amanda Harkimo interview various hockey players. The Columbus episode featured Finnish players Joonas Korpisalo, Markus Hannikainen and Markus Nutivaara, along with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.


Events/Scandals: On March 16, 2002, a deflected puck struck 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil in the head, as she attended a Blue Jackets home game. Although Cecil attended a first aid station under her own strength, she died 48 hours later, as doctors failed to discover a torn vertebral artery. Tragically, the tickets to the game were an early 14th birthday present. Following Cecil’s death, the NHL placed netting at each end of all arenas.

Rivalry: The Blue Jackets two chief rivals are the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, thanks to their geographical closeness to the Ohio capital city. Columbus’ hatred of all things Pittsburgh was intensified in the NHL, when the two teams were placed in the Metropolitan Division during the 2013-14 league realignment. The Blue Jackets and Penguins have met twice in the playoffs, with Pittsburgh winning both series.

Tragedy: In 2021, at a Fourth of July party hosted by Blue Jackets goalie coach Manny Legace, a firework mishap killed Columbus goalie Matiss Kivlenieks. It was later revealed by fellow Blue Jackets goaltender and Latvian Elvis Merzļikins that Kivlenieks’ death occurred as he was protecting others at the party, including Merzlikins pregnant wife. Kivlenieks had been in the Columbus system since being signed in 2017.

Player Nicknames: Current Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner was given the nickname Bam Bam in his rookie season by team trainer Mike Vogt, thanks to his tenacity while forechecking. The moniker is a reference to the young Flintstones character, who has surprising strength. Jenner has spent his entire career with the Blue Jackets, since being drafted 37th overall in 2011.

Columbus vs. Pittsburgh

Line: One popular unit in Blue Jackets history was the PB&J Line of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi ‘Bread Man’ Panarin and Josh Anderson. The trio was formed during the 2017-18 season and were dominant while together. Another top line for Columbus was the threesome of Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek, who were combined during the 2010-11 campaign.

Captain: After Rick Nash was traded away in July 2012, the Blue Jackets spent a number of years without a captain, finally putting Nick Foligno in the role in May 2015. Foligno had once been offered to Columbus, in a hopeful deal for Nash, but the transaction crumbled when Nash declined to waive his no-move clause to go to the Ottawa Senators. Foligno served as captain for six seasons, until he too was dealt from the team in April 2021.

Enforcer: Jody Shelley played parts of seven seasons with the Blue Jackets and holds the team’s single-season penalty minute record with 249 in the 2002-03 campaign. Shelley earned the nickname ‘Hawk’, as teammates felt he oversaw all the action and looked after them when needed. After retiring from hockey in 2013, Shelley became a Blue Jackets team ambassador, before joining the Blue Jackets TV broadcast team in 2014.

Family Values: Brothers Kris and Ryan Russell were both members of the Blue Jackets organization in 2011, but Kris was traded to the St. Louis Blues, before Ryan made his NHL debut with the club. Another family connection for the franchise is father and son Mike and Cole Sillinger both playing for Columbus. Mike suited up for two seasons with the Blue Jackets, while Cole was drafted by the club 12th overall in 2021.

Blue Jackets

Returning Players: Jakub Voracek was drafted by the Blue Jackets 7th overall in 2007. In June 2011, Voracek was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he would spend the next 10 seasons. In July 2021, Voracek was traded back to Columbus. Sadly, Voracek’s second stint with the Blue Jackets saw the end of his career at only 33 years old, due to post-concussion issues from an injury suffered in November 2022.

Short Stint: On a couple occasions, the Blue Jackets tried to bring in a star player to the organization, with the experiment not lasting long and that player ending up with the Los Angeles Kings. First, in 2011, Jeff Carter was traded to Columbus, but lasted only 39 games before he was on the move again. In 2013, Marian Gaborik was acquired, playing 34 games over two seasons. Both players would win Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Undrafted: The Blue Jackets most prolific undrafted signees have achieved their success in other locales, with Nick Holden and Jonathan Marchessault each only playing a few games with Columbus. The future may be bright with two 2022 signings in goalie Jet Greaves and defenseman Nick Blankenburg. Greaves had a strong NHL debut in April 2023, while Blankenburg has 17 points in his first 43 NHL contests.

Trade: The Blue Jackets greatest success came with their only playoff series victory in 2018. Two players who led the charge for that club were Sergei Bobrovsky and Nick Foligno, both acquired in trades in the 2012 off-season. Bobrovsky was dealt by the Philadelphia Flyers for three draft picks, while Foligno came over from the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot.


Signing: In a surprise move, Johnny Gaudreau chose to sign with the Blue Jackets during the 2022 free agency period, rather than remain with the Calgary Flames or move closer to his home of New Jersey, as had been speculated by media reports. Gaudreau’s seven-year, $68.25 million pact with Columbus was less than Calgary offered and comparable to offers from Eastern Conference squads.

Draft Pick: Despite many years of futility, the Blue Jackets have only selected first overall once, taking Rick Nash in 2002. The team has more draft blunders than successes, especially with top 10 picks. These include Nikolai Zherdev (4th overall in 2003), Alexandre Picard (8th overall in 2004), Gilbert Brule (6th overall in 2005), Nikita Filatov (6th overall in 2008), and Ryan Murray (2nd overall in 2012).

Holdouts: Two budding stars for the Blue Jackets went through contract disputes with the organization, following breakout seasons in contract years. Nikolay Zherdev and Ryan Johansen both endured drawn out negotiations, with each player finally putting pen to paper and joining the team as training camp, in 2006 and 2014 respectively, were already in progress.

Buyouts: In the 2016 off-season, the Blue Jackets bought out the contracts of defenseman Fedor Tyutin and enforcer Jared Boll. The releases cost Columbus a total of $6.96 million, with $5.83 million going to Tyutin and $1.13 million going to Boll. Both players were long-time members of the franchise. Today, Tyutin and Boll rank sixth and eighth, respectively, in all-time games played for the Blue Jackets.


Unique Game: The Blue Jackets have twice travelled to Europe for games. First, they played the 2010 NHL Premiere versus the San Jose Sharks in Stockholm, Sweden, while also facing off against the Malmo Redhawks in exhibition action in Malmo, Sweden. Next, they journeyed to Tampere, Finland for a pair of contests, dubbed the 2022 NHL Global Series, versus the Colorado Avalanche.

Goal: Rick Nash scored numerous goals for the Blue Jackets, but one tally is remembered more than all the rest. During a January 17, 2008 game against the Arizona Coyotes, Nash received the puck at center ice and came in on two Arizona defenseman, deking both out and then also the goalie. The marker was voted the second greatest goal of the 21st century in a 2020 Sportsnet tournament series.

Fight/Brawl: Bob Probert was one of the most feared fighters in NHL history, but that didn’t stop Jody Shelley from taking on the legendary pugilist three times in one 2002 game, with one bout occurring in each period. In a later interview, Shelley called the game “the longest night of my life.” When the two teams clashed again a couple nights later, it was time for round four between the two enforcers.

Injury: During a November 18, 2016 game against the New York Rangers, Matt Calvert was hit in the face with a slapshot, causing blood to stream onto the ice. The gritty forward received 36 stitches to close the wound, but returned to the contest and would score the eventual game-winning goal, while shorthanded. The incident earned Calvert the nickname Stitches.


Penalty: In the 2011 pre-season, James Wisniewski was suspended for a hit to the head of Minnesota Wild player Cal Clutterbuck. The incident cost Wisniewski the remaining pre-season games and eight regular season contests. Wisniewski had been suspended four previous times. It should also be noted, both Jared Boll (four games in 2016) and Nick Foligno (three games in 2019) were suspended for hits to the head of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Wildest Story: In a business where teams are hesitant to let assets walk away for nothing, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen made some against-the-grain decisions at the 2019 trade deadline, when he not only held onto his top goalie and player, when both were on the cusp of unrestricted free agency and likely to leave the team, he added rental players. This led to the surprise sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but ended with Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene all fleeing for greener pastures.

Blooper: Line changes in hockey can be chaotic, sometimes resulting in a too many men on the ice penalty. The Blue Jackets went another direction during a 2019 game against the Boston Bruins, when they only sent out four players for a faceoff in their zone, when they should have put out a full line. The result: Boston scored two seconds after the puck was dropped. Luckily for Columbus, they still won the contest 7-4.

Miscellaneous: The Blue Jackets have always done things differently and that was perhaps most evident with the club hiring Jarmo Kekalainen in 2013 as the first European GM in NHL history. Kekalainen had previously served in executive roles with the Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues. He was leading Finnish Elite League club Jokerit, when hired for the Columbus gig. A decade later, Kekalainen is still at the helm of the Blue Jackets.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Blue Jacket

Blue Jacket

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters

The first martini recipe for the project. I don’t think this cocktail has any connection to the hockey team, other than sharing a name, but it’s the best I could find amongst the vast internet world.

Colorado Avalanche – Avalanche Shot

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we may need some oxygen, as we visit the high altitudes of Colorado and try to survive the Avalanche:

Establishment Story: What is now the Colorado Avalanche began as the Quebec Nordiques, one of the original franchises of the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972. The Nordiques joined the NHL in 1979, as part of the NHL-WHA merger. The franchise was sold and relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1995 and renamed the Avalanche. Other possible names for the team included Extreme, Blizzards and Black Bears.

Stanley Cups: The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in their first year in Colorado, helped along by the Avalanche picking up Patrick Roy from the Montreal Canadiens, a double shot at the province of Quebec. The team reached the league pinnacle again in 2001 and 2022, totalling three Stanley Cups. They have won each of their Stanley Cup Finals appearances. As the Nordiques, the franchise also won one WHA Avco Cup in 1977.

Celebrity Fan: South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are Avalanche supporters, as both grew up in Colorado. Another famous fan of the team is baseball Hall of Fame member Larry Walker, who played for the Colorado Rockies for 10 seasons. Walker, a Canadian who grew up also playing hockey, was honoured by the Avalanche for his 2020 Hall of Fame election by being named the team’s honourary emergency back-up goalie for a game.


Super Fan: During the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup-winning 2022 season, one fan was banned from the team’s home games, but it was for a somewhat noble reason. Ryan Clark was caught throwing a small bag of his friend’s ashes onto the ice during a January 8, 2022 contest. The friend was Kyle Stark, a die-hard Avalanche supporter, who died unexpectedly the previous December. Clark admitted the tribute may not have been the best idea, but had no regrets.

Mascot: Bernie the St. Bernard debuted on October 3, 2009, replacing Howler the Yeti, who was retired in 1999 after an issue with an opposing team fan. Bernie wears jersey #1, with a bone used to make the number. The Nordiques mascot was Badaboum, who first appeared for the Rendez-vous ’87 series between NHL All-Stars and the Soviet National Team in Quebec City. Badaboum was a furry blue creature, similar to a seal.

Tradition: For the past few seasons, the Avalanche have used the Blink-182 song All the Small Things as a theme song. For a portion of the track, the audio is cut off, so fans can sing the parts themselves. As the Avalanche made their run to the 2022 Stanley Cup, the tradition was often highlighted by the media. Blink-182 lead singer Mark Hoppus joined the team as they raised the Stanley Cup banner, leading the crowd in a rendition of the tune.

Appearances in Media: In the South Park episode Stanley’s Cup, Stan Marsh is forced to coach a kid’s hockey team, parodying The Mighty Ducks movie. When Marsh’s team is invited to play during the intermission of a Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings game, the other peewee team no-shows. As consolation, the Avalanche let Marsh’s team play the third period against Detroit, where they get absolutely annihilated, losing 32-2.

All the Small Things

Events/Scandals: Avalanche goalies have a history of being arrested for domestic violence. First, in October 2000, Patrick Roy was detained after an argument with his wife. His case was later dismissed for not meeting the standard of criminal mischief. 13 years later, Semyon Varlamov was arrested and charged with the misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend. The charges were dropped when prosecutors couldn’t prove their case.

Rivalry: As the Quebec Nordiques, the team had a long-standing feud with provincial rivals the Montreal Canadiens, known as the Battle of Quebec. The teams met in the playoffs five times and even battled over TV rights. As for the Colorado Avalanche, their greatest battles occurred with the Detroit Red Wings, as the two teams battled for Western Conference and league supremacy in the late 1990s.

Tragedy: Peter McNab was the color analyst for the Avalanche from their debut in 1995 up until his death from cancer on November 6, 2022. He was 70 years old. McNab played in the NHL for 14 seasons, before moving into the broadcast booth, first with the New Jersey Devils. For all of his contributions to the game, McNab was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.

Player Nicknames: Two of the Avalanche’s most legendary players also have the most memorable nicknames in team history. Joe Sakic was known as Mr. Clutch throughout his long tenure with the franchise, always coming up big when it mattered most. Sakic’s former teammate, Peter Forsberg, was dubbed Peter the Great, a nod to the Tsar of Russia from 1682 to 1721.

Joe Sakic

Line: Colorado’s dominant top line over the last few seasons has consisted of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. The trio has piled up points since being combined and were integral members to the Avalanche winning the 2022 Stanley Cup. Two other notable lines were comprised of Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk on the wings, with Joe Sakic or Peter Forsberg at center, for the JAM Line and AMP Line, respectively.

Captain: After serving as the Nordiques co-captain for the 1990-91 season, Joe Sakic was named the permanent captain for the 1992-93 campaign and held the mantle through to his retirement in 2009. Another enduring captaincy is that of Gabriel Landeskog, who was the youngest NHL captain ever, when he began his term in 2012. Landeskog is still the team’s captain to this day.

Enforcer: Nicknamed ‘The Sheriff’, Scott Parker patrolled the ice for the Avalanche for 237 games, over two separate stints. During his time with the franchise, Parker tallied 538 penalty minutes, to go along with five goals and 11 assists. Parker was a member of the Avalanche’s 2001 Stanley Cup championship team, suiting up for four games of the team’s playoff run.

Family Values: The Stastny brothers (Peter, Marian and Anton) starred for Quebec through the early 1980s, piling up points as the team’s top line. The Nordiques even helped the brothers defect from Czechoslovakia to play hockey in Canada, a move which opened the door for other Iron Curtain players to follow. Later, Paul Stastny, son of Peter, was drafted by Colorado, playing eight seasons with the Avalanche.


Returning Players: Peter Forsberg played 10 seasons for the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise, before moving on to the Philadelphia Flyers and later Nashville Predators. He then sat out most of the 2007-08 season, recovering from foot surgery, before rejoining the Avalanche for nine games. After two seasons in Sweden, Forsberg attempted an NHL comeback with Colorado, but only lasted two games, citing his chronic foot issues as a reason for his retirement.

Short Stint: When Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne came to the Avalanche for the 2003-04 season, the reunion of the two star players was supposed to bolster an already strong team. Kariya and Selanne both underperformed, though, and Colorado was eliminated from the playoffs in the second round. Following the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Kariya would sign with the Nashville Predators, while Selanne returned to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Undrafted: Peter Stastny’s Hall of Fame career began by fleeing Czechoslovakia with his pregnant wife, assisted by Nordiques President and CEO, Marcel Aubut. Stastny dominated the NHL upon arrival, breaking the record for most points in a season by a rookie, including a two consecutive game effort of seven goals and seven assists. Stastny would also play with the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues over 15 seasons.

Trade: The greatest move the franchise ever executed was sending Eric Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers for a massive package of assets. This included Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first round draft picks and $15 million. While Lindros was a dominant player in the league for a time, the Avalanche would go onto win two Stanley Cups during Lindros’ career.


Signing: In 2019, the Avalanche took an $850,000 chance on forward Valeri Nichushkin, who was coming off being bought out by the Dallas Stars, following a season where he failed to score over 57 games. Nichushkin rebounded with Colorado, finding the form that made him the 10th overall pick of the 2013 draft. In 2021-22, Nichushkin recorded 25 goals and 27 assists, as well as contributing 15 points in the team’s Stanley Cup victory. This resulted in an eight-year, $49 million contract extension.

Draft Pick: The Nordiques/Avalanche have done very well with the first overall selection, including three consecutive top choices from 1989 to 1991 (Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan and Eric Lindros). The franchise also selected Nathan MacKinnon first overall in 2013. Additionally, choosing defenseman Cale Makar at fourth overall in 2017 may go down as one of the greatest draft steals of all-time.

Holdouts: Going into the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Eric Lindros and his camp made it clear he would not play for the Nordiques, despite them owning the first overall selection and Lindros being the clear cut favourite to be picked. The Nordiques took Lindros anyway, resulting in the player refusing to put on the team’s jersey. At the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, the Nordiques traded Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers, ending the impasse.

Buyouts: Three years in a row, from 2016 to 2018, the Avalanche used buyouts on aging defensemen, ending the Colorado tenures of Brad Stuart, Francois Beauchemin and Brooks Orpik in subsequent seasons. The Stuart buyout cost the team $2.4 million, while the Beauchemin and Orpik releases cost $3 million each. Orpik’s buyout came just weeks after he was traded to the Avalanche, allowing him to return to the Washington Capitals on a cheaper deal.


Unique Game: From 1997 to 2016, the Avalanche played a pre-season game almost each year, dubbed Frozen Fury, against the Los Angeles Kings in Las Vegas. Colorado also returned to Quebec City for an exhibition game in 2002 against the Montreal Canadiens. The franchise has played a few outdoor games, including the 2016 Stadium Series vs. Detroit Red Wings, 2020 Stadium Series vs. Los Angeles Kings and NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe Saturday vs. Vegas Golden Knights.

Goal: Defenseman Uwe Krupp was injured for much of the Avalanche’s inaugural 1995-96 season, returning just in time for the end of the campaign. Good thing, as Krupp would score the winning goal in the third overtime period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals versus the Florida Panthers, clinching Colorado’s first championship. In doing so, Krupp became the first German-trained player to win the Stanley Cup.

Fight/Brawl: Two of the NHL’s most memorable brawls involved the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise. First, the Good Friday Massacre between the Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens occurred during the 1984 playoffs, resulting in 11 ejections and 252 penalty minutes. Second, the 1997 Brawl in Hockeytown between the Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings was the outcome of tempers boiling over from the previous year’s playoff meeting.

Injury: When the Avalanche played the Vancouver Canucks on March 8, 2004, Colorado’s Steve Moore was a marked man for his previous elbow on Canucks captain Markus Naslund. With the Avalanche up 8-2, Canucks players began targeting Moore, with Todd Bertuzzi punching him from behind. As a result of the punch, the players falling to the ice and a pile up that ensued, Moore suffered three fractured neck vertebrae, a concussion and cuts to his face. This ended Moore’s career and led to a lawsuit settlement.


Penalty: Speaking of the Brawl in Hockeytown, it was all precipitated by Claude Lemieux’s hit-from-behind on Detroit’s Kris Draper in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals. Draper ended up with a concussion, broken jaw and shattered cheek and orbital bones. Lemieux was ejected from the contest and subsequently suspended by the NHL for two games.

Wildest Story: Further complicating the Eric Lindros trade saga, the Nordiques had actually arranged two different deals for the coveted player. The other transaction was negotiated with the New York Rangers and an independent arbiter was needed to settle the matter. The Flyers deal was enforced, while the Rangers offer of Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov, James Patrick, either Mike Richter or John Vanbiesbrouck, multiple first-round draft picks, and $20 million was voided.

Blooper: Patrick Roy was one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, but he is also remembered for this major error, made during the 2002 Western Conference Finals, against the Detroit Red Wings. Roy made a sprawling glove save, but when he went to show off the stop, he dropped the puck, allowing the Red Wings to score. The Avalanche, who were leading the series 3-2, went on to lose this game and the next, with the Red Wings advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Miscellaneous: Another great trade for the Avalanche, was bringing in defenseman Ray Bourque from the Boston Bruins in 2000. Bourque waited 23 long seasons to finally win the Stanley Cup. When the Avalanche finally did so in 2001, captain Joe Sakic didn’t hesitate to immediately pass the trophy to Bourque, once it was presented to him. The joy and relief on Bourque’s face, as he skated the championship around the ice was evident. This would mark the end of Bourque’s NHL career, going out on top.

Colorado Avalanche: Avalanche Shot

Avalanche Shot

  • 0.75 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Blue Curacao

This is the first shooter of the NHL project, as I could find no suitable cocktails. You’re supposed to drop the shot into a glass of Red Bull, but I don’t like working with that ingredient. The colours of the shot replicate Avalanche jerseys hues.

Sip Trips #220: Hawaiian Hangover

March was a very busy month, highlighted by our two-week Hawaiian cruise. There’s much to cover, so let’s get right to it:

Before we could hit international waters, we had Boy Sip’s third birthday to celebrate with friends and family. As a result, we crossed the border into Blaine, Washington to pick up some ordered items for the occasion and once again popped into Bob’s Burgers & Brew for a bite to eat. This time, I ordered the Crispy Chicken Burger, going with Potato Salad as my side again. To drink, I had one of my favourite Bellingham beers in the Kulshan Amber Ale.

That weekend, was our long-awaited Vancouver Canucks game against the vile Toronto Maple Leafs. To help with the enjoyment of this 4-1 victory, I spent the entirety of my $50 Canucks membership gift card on a selection of beverages. Following the contest, Mrs. Sip wanted to go to the Caveman Café and get some keto items. I was just happy their “double” drinks are actually three-ounce pours!

Leafs Logo

Running more errands in preparation for Boy Sip’s birthday parties, I found myself in Maple Ridge one afternoon, needing to kill some time before making a pickup. So, I had dinner at the Billy Miner Pub, where I ate a very good Muzzle Loader Burger (braised onions, mushrooms, mozzarella, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Billy sauce), paired with a pint of Neighbourhood Happy Place Pale Ale.

With the birthday festivities out of the way, it was time to head to San Francisco and board our 15-day Hawaiian cruise. Going in, I joked the voyage would be a a tale of two cruises, with the first half being before Boy Sip turned three and we had to stay with him at the ship’s Kid’s Club, while the latter half, we’d be able to drop both Sipplings off and make a run for it!

Thanks to some maneuvering by Mrs. Sip, some other refunds and a generous Christmas gift from Ma and Pa Sip, we had $900-plus worth of ship credits to work through, so it was like being at an all-inclusive, in that we never had to worry about paying for drinks and other goodies. Even with Mrs. Sip buying internet and photo packages during the journey, we had plenty of money left for frivolities.

Dream Vacation

This was my first cruise as an ‘elite’ passenger, so I received my first complimentary bar set up. The eight mini bottles Mrs. Sip and I received, along with beers and mixers, went well with the other mini bottles I always pack for cruises and the one-liter bottle of Bacardi 8 Rum I bought at Duty Free on the way down that stowed away in my luggage.

As we set sail and passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, I purchased my first cocktail of the cruise, the Limelight (lime vodka, club soda, ginger ale, lime juice, cucumber). It would be the first of many, including the Red Carpet (vodka, cherry liqueur, ginger beer), Dark N’ Stormy, Pina en Fuego (tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled pineapple, jalapeno), Paloma Caliente, Lynchburg Lemonade, Lucky Charm, Cartagena Cool (rum, cinnamon, orange and chocolate bitters, orange peel), Manhattan, and Floradora (gin, raspberry, lime juice, ginger beer). Basically, I never drank the same recipe twice!

Our first port stop of the expedition was in Maui. We began the excursion with lunch at Waikiki Brewing’s Lahaina location. Over the course of our meal, I enjoyed the Hana Hou Hefe and Jalapeno Mouth, while devouring a Chicken and Pork Belly Wrap with Potato Mac Salad. We had a lot of fun here, with the bar being in full-festive St. Patrick’s Day mode. Before returning to the ship, we also hit Kohola Brewing, where I tried their Red Sand Amber Ale and Mrs. Sip and I shared the Hana Mac Nut Stout.

Cruise Training

The next day, we were on the Big Island, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch at Kona Brewing. Their pizzas are still some of the best I’ve ever had, as I went with the Kulana Bacon Cheeseburger variety. Over the course of a long meal, I indulged in servings of the Kua Bay IPA, Purple Grain (Amber Lager) and Koko Brown Ale. An unknown IPA was also accidentally delivered to our table and I was happy to help eliminate it.

Following lunch, we stumbled to the nearby Puna Chocolate Co., in search of shaved ice and other treats for the Sipplings. Upon entering, we became aware they served chocolate cocktails, dubbed Choc-Tails, so had to sample a couple. I went with the Aztec Old Fashioned (whiskey, Hawaiian chili pepper syrup, Aztec chocolate bitters, black cherry), while Mrs. Sip selected the Chocolate Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, crème de cacao, lime, orange blossom water), which came with a delicious chocolate rim.

Prior to getting back on the ship, I did an ABC Stores run, smuggling onboard a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, along with a couple mixers for the next stage of the trip. That night, Mrs. Sip and I won a bottle of the cruise’s not-so-good bubbly, nailing a perfect score while playing 90s Sitcoms trivia.

Cruise Ship Drunk

Our last Hawaiian island stop was a two-day sojourn in Honolulu. Following a morning spent at the Waikiki Zoo, it was time to quench our thirst with a stop at Maui Brewing’s Waikiki location. This meant, we went to Waikiki Brewing in Maui and Maui Brewing in Waikiki! At the restaurant, Mrs. Sip and I shared a yummy order of MBC Nachos with Pulled Pork. To drink, I had the Waimea Red Ale. Boy Sip then awoke from his slumber and demanded a McDonald’s cheeseburger, so I raced to the other end of the beach strip, stopping for a brief beer at Lulu’s.

I then hurried back for our dinner reservation at Duke’s Waikiki. Here, Mrs. Sip and I shared a pair of appies in the Korean Sticky Ribs and Crispy Coconut Shrimp. For beverages, I had both the Hana Koa Rooftop Pale Ale and Maui Lahaina Town Brown. Of course, we finished with a serving of their famous Kimo’s Original Hula Pie, which was complimentary, as we were celebrating Boy Sip’s birthday from the day before.

The next day, we only had a few hours on land before setting sail again, so visited Aloha Brewing, which had quite an extensive menu of beer options. Between Mrs. Sip and myself, we tried the Hi-Bitchcus Ale, Froot Lupes IPA, Kaka’ako Tripel and Aloha Hefeweizen. Although we definitely didn’t have the time to do it, Mrs. Sip insisted on popping into Honolulu Beer Works on our return to the ship, so we rushed servings of their Cocoweizen and Cream Ale. A more relaxed return is warranted in the future.

Cruise Liver

Aboard the ship again, Mrs. Sip and I partook in a wine tasting, which is free for elite passengers. My only complaint with these, is there’s too much yapping… I was done all my wines well before they finished talking about each one and thankfully had the excuse of checking in on the kids to make my quick exit.

Over our return days at sea, I composed a bar crawl that hit some of the more unique settings on the ship, with the caveat that Mrs. Sip and I had to each order the other’s drink. It all went down like this:

  • Outriggers Bar – Margaritas: Chocolate & Chili Margarita for Mrs. Sip, Sweet & Smoky Margarita for me
  • Wheelhouse Bar – Adapted Classics: Elderflower Paloma for Mrs. Sip, Jack Daniel’s Smash for me
  • Crooners – Martinis: French Martini for Mrs. Sip, Sailing Through Orchards for me
  • Bellini’s – Bellinis: Fellini for Mrs. Sip, Sweet Annie for me
  • Vines – Classics and Beyond: Beverly Hills Iced Tea for Mrs. Sip, Rob Roy for me
  • Good Spirits – elaborate cocktails: Sandia en Fuego for Mrs. Sip, Bangkok Mule for me

Cruise Drinks

Our final port stop, offered a few hours in Ensanada, Mexico. We rushed over to Thor, which we thought was a craft brewery, but was just a bar. There, while trying to fix one of the kid’s toys, I knocked over a freshly-poured pint of Harry Polanco Red Ale, which sucked. We did use the bar’s internet to figure out where an actual brewery was, so headed over to Wendlandt, where I tried their Perro del Mar IPA. We then rushed back to the ship again for our final day at sea.

Upon returning home, Mrs. Sip surprised me with tickets to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the end of the month, as part of our 21st dating anniversary celebrations. Prior to the show, we had dinner and drinks at Original Joe’s, where their daily special was 22oz tankards of beer. Mrs. Sip went with the Golden Lager, while I had the Red Ale. We followed that up with the Silver Dollar cocktail for Mrs. Sip (suggested by me) and a Double Spiced Rum and Coke for moi. To fill our tummies, we shared the Chicken Tenders with Poutine. I like that many of the meals at Original Joe’s come with two sides and we will have to frequent the restaurant more often, as they had numerous menu items we wanted to try.

Chili Peppers

As for the concert, I find you’re always trying hard to maintain your buzz throughout a long show, while not letting the stadium take too big of a bite out of your wallet. Mrs. Sip and I started with a tall beer each and later a pair of margaritas per person (they offered Lime Margartita, Charra Negro and Tequila & 7). The show was fun, but when the band closed out the night without playing my favourite song of theirs, Scar Tissue, it all seemed a little anticlimactic. Maybe next time…

April is already shaping up to be insane, with a fully-booked calendar, despite us still recovering from March. Par for the course, for the Family Sip!

Carolina Hurricanes – The Storm Surge

Throughout the year, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the National Hockey League (NHL), discovering the best and worst each team has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink based off the franchise. Today, we look in on the Carolina Hurricanes, mindful of their past and with an eye (of the storm) towards their future:

Establishment Story: What is now the Carolina Hurricanes, began life as the New England Whalers in the defunct World Hockey Association (WHA). When the team was one of four WHA clubs to merge with the NHL in 1979, they became the Hartford Whalers (having moved from Boston to Hartford in 1974). In 1997, the Whalers relocated to North Carolina, becoming the Hurricanes.

Stanley Cups: The Hurricanes have reached hockey’s pinnacle once in their history, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. This would be North Carolina’s first ever major professional title. They also appeared in one other Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. As the New England Whalers in the WHA, the franchise was the inaugural Avco Cup winner in 1973.

Celebrity Fan: Stephen Colbert, who was born in South Carolina, has featured the Hurricanes on his various talk shows. In 2006, following the Hurricanes Stanley Cup victory, Colbert declared “Canes Rule” during the signoff of an episode of The Colbert Report. Years later, he invited David Ayers (more on him below) onto the The Tonight Show, following his heroics for the team.


Super Fan: One of the most notable Caniacs is Emma Izzo, who gained the attention of fellow Carolina supporters in 2021, when it was pointed out on social media that the Hurricanes won every game she attended. Over $10,000 was raised to provide Izzo, who was born with Down syndrome, and her family with season tickets and she has become the team’s Good Luck Ambassador.

Mascot: Stormy the Ice Hog wears jersey number 97, for the year the Hurricanes came into existence. A pig was selected thanks to the numerous hog farms found throughout North Carolina. Stormy’s favourite book is Charlotte’s Web, while his preferred movie is Wild Hogs. The Hartford Whalers had two mascots before the team relocated: Pucky the Whale (logo on WHA jerseys) and Wally the Whaler.

Tradition: For the 2018-19 season, the Hurricanes celebrated home wins with elaborate routines, which were dubbed a Storm Surge. Sequences included the team acting like a line of falling dominoes and captain Justin Williams bowling his helmet at his teammate pins. Another element from the franchise’s history is Brass Bonanza, the official theme song of the Whalers, which has been revived by the Hurricanes for throwback nights.

Appearances in Media: The Whalers have maintained a substantial fan base, despite moving to Carolina a quarter of a century ago. Many argue the Whalers logo is one of the greatest ever created and even Adam Sandler wears a Hartford t-shirt in the movie Grown Ups, during the scene where the stars attend a waterslide park. The 2008 documentary Bleeding Green looks at some of these remaining Whalers fans and their desire for the team to return.

Storm Surge

Events/Scandals: In the early morning hours of March 24, 1994, six Whalers players and two assistant coaches were arrested after refusing to leave a Buffalo, New York nightclub. The players included Marc Potvin, Pat Verbeek, Mark Janssen, Todd Harkins, Geoff Sanderson, and Chris Pronger, who was only 19 at the time, below the legal drinking age in the U.S. Charges ranged from disorderly conduct to trespassing.

Rivalry: The Whalers had a geographic feud with the Boston Bruins, prior to their relocation. As for the Hurricanes, their greatest rival may be the Washington Capitals, as they have shared divisions almost the entire time the team has been located in Carolina. The Hurricanes also had a grudge with the Montreal Canadiens, who signed Carolina forward Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet in 2019. In retaliation, the Hurricanes signed Montreal youngster Jesperi Kotkaniemi the next off-season to an offer sheet of their own.

Tragedy: On May 3, 1999, following a year-end team party, defenseman Steve Chiasson was killed in a single-vehicle car accident. Chiasson was driving while under the influence. In response, the Hurricanes have awarded the Steve Chiasson Award to the player who “best demonstrates leadership, perseverance, determination and dedication.” Chiasson’s number 3 has also been taken out of circulation by the team.

Player Nicknames: While the majority of folks enjoyed the Hurricanes’ Storm Surge celebrations, Hockey Night in Canada pundit Don Cherry did not. Cherry went so far as to call the Hurricanes a “bunch of jerks”. The Hurricanes responded in the best way possible, embracing the Bunch of Jerks designation, projecting it onto their home ice and also producing t-shirts with the message.

Bunch of Jerks

Line: Two memorable Hurricanes lines, include the CVS Line of Andrew Cassels, Pat Verbeek and Geoff Sanderson, and the BBC Line of Bates Battaglia, Rod Brind’Amour and Erik Cole. The CVS line was a play on the pharmacy chain, while the BBC Line is a reference to the news network… or at least I hope it’s that and not referring to the naughty version of that acronym.

Captain: Ron Francis had two separate stints as team captain of the franchise, one with the Whalers from 1985-1991 and the other with the Hurricanes from 1999 to 2004. Both reigns ended with Francis being traded, to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. Other notable leaders of the club, include Rod Brind’Amour, Eric Staal and Jordan Staal.

Enforcer: Kevin Dineen holds the Whalers/Hurricanes record for career penalty minutes at 1,439, playing 708 games with the franchise over two stints. Close behind him, is Torrie Robertson with 1,368. Robertson also holds the record for penalty minutes in a season at 358. Over six and a half campaigns with the Whalers, Robertson recorded three of the top four penalty minute seasons in franchise history.

Family Values: A number of family relations have played together with the Whalers/Hurricanes. Most notably, three of the four Staal brothers (Eric, Jordan and Jared) suited up together with the Hurricanes (albeit for only two games), while the legendary Gordie Howe was able to play with his sons Mark and Marty, as members of the Whalers, for Gordie’s final NHL season.

Staal Brothers

Returning Players: Sandwiched around his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Francis was a member of the Whalers for 10 seasons to begin his NHL career and the Hurricanes for the final six seasons as an active player (retiring after a brief run with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as a trade deadline rental). Francis still holds the franchise records for games played, goals, assists and points. He was also a Hurricanes executive from 2011 to 2018.

Short Stint: Hall of Fame forward Bobby Hull played the final nine games of his career with the Whalers. He was traded to Hartford from the Winnipeg Jets during the 1979-80 season, joining fellow legend Gordie Howe, who would also retire after the season. Other Hall of Fame inductees to have brief tenures with the franchise were Paul Coffey and Mark Recchi, who played 20 games each with the franchise.

Undrafted: Chad LaRose worked his way through the minor leagues, before becoming a fan favourite with the Hurricanes, even being a member of their 2006 Stanley Cup-winning squad. LaRose was signed by the Hurricanes in 2003, making his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season. He would spend his entire eight-season NHL career with Carolina, providing 85 goals and 180 points in 508 games.

Trade: Rod Brind’Amour was the main return piece when the Hurricanes were forced to trade Keith Primeau to the Philadelphia Flyers. Brind’Amour, nicknamed Rod the Bod for his workout regimen and impressive physique, would go on to become captain of the team and lead them to the 2006 Stanley Cup. Brind’Amour would finish the rest of his career in Carolina (retiring in 2010) and today, he leads them in a different capacity, as head coach since 2018-19.

Rod the Bod

Signing: Another key addition to the Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup team was brining in Ray Whitney in August 2005. Nicknamed The Wizard for his playmaking abilities, Whitney recorded 334 points in 342 games. Signed just days before Whitney, Cory Stillman didn’t have the regular season numbers Whitney did with Carolina, but he did provide 26 points in 25 games during the 2006 playoffs.

Draft Pick: The Hartford/Carolina franchise has done very well with the second overall choice in drafts. At this spot, they managed to snag Chris Pronger (1993), Eric Staal (2003) and Andrei Svechnikov (2018). Perhaps their only blemish with selecting second was taking Sylvain Turgeon (1983), rather than future Hall of Famers Pat LaFontaine, Steve Yzerman and Cam Neely. It should also be noted, the team hit a homerun picking Ron Francis fourth overall in 1981.

Holdouts: Hurricanes captain Keith Primeau missed half of the 1999-2000 season, sitting out over a contract dispute. The impasse ended when Primeau was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers with a 2000 fifth-round draft pick, in exchange for Rod Brind’Amour, Jean-Marc Pelletier and a 2000 second-round draft pick. A previous deal to send Primeau to the Phoenix Coyotes for Keith Tkachuk was vetoed by then owner Peter Karmanos.

Buyouts: In 2015, after recording only six goals and 19 points over the previous campaign, the Hurricanes bought out Alexander Semin’s five-year, $35 million contract, with three years remaining. This put them on the hook to pay Semin $14 million over the next six years. Semin would join the Montreal Canadiens, playing only 15 games, before he was waived. When Semin refused to report to the minor league affiliate, his contract was terminated and he returned to Russia.

Whalers Hartford

Unique Game: For the 2010 NHL Premiere, the Hurricanes played two games versus the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland, winning both. As part of that tour, they also played an exhibition contest against SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, losing 5-3. Carolina also hosted the 2023 Stadium Series match versus the Washington Capitals, winning on home ice.

Goal: A far as important tallies in franchise history go, you can’t really top Stanley Cup game winning and empty net insurance markers. Frantisek Kaberle’s power play goal in the second period of Game 7 versus the Edmonton Oilers would prove to be the game winner and when Justin Williams added an empty netter late in the third period, the celebration was officially on in Raleigh.

Fight/Brawl: During an April 7, 1997 game for Hartford against the Buffalo Sabres, a scrum began after a whistle. Keith Primeau grabbed the closest player to him and both men dropped their gloves. That’s a pretty typical hockey story, but what made it unique, is the opposing combatant was Wayne Primeau, Keith’s younger brother. Following the fight, Keith called his parents to apologize for what had occurred.

Injury: On December 27, 1980, Mark Howe slid into the net, impaling himself on the sharp metal point at the center of nets during this era. A long gash occurred on his upper thigh, nearly ending his career, as he lost 21 pounds, while having to go on a liquid diet to avoid any intestinal infections. Howe sued the NHL, resulting in nets being redesigned to remove the center point.

Howe Family

Penalty: Defenseman Russ Anderson was slapped with a six-game suspension in 1983, after hitting Dave Taylor of the Los Angeles Kings with his stick. In another stick swinging incident, Keith Primeau received a two-game ban in 1997 for slashing Joe Juneau of the Washington Capitals in the back, causing a severe hematoma between Juneau’s shoulder blade and spine. Primeau was back to game action before Juneau was able to return.

Wildest Story: On February 22, 2020, Zamboni driver David Ayres stepped in as the Hurricanes emergency backup goalie (EBUG) against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that employed him. Ayres allowed goals on the first two shots he faced, before stopping the next eight attempts, helping the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory. Ayres became the first EBUG to win an NHL game and the triumphant story is being developed into a feature film.

Blooper: On March 22, 2018, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski dumped the puck into the Hurricanes zone. Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward came out of the net to play the puck, then returned to his crease. Only the puck had become lodged in Ward’s skate and when he backed into the net, the puck went with him, resulting in a goal being credited to Goligoski. The Hurricanes eventually won the game, bringing relief to Ward for his error.

Miscellaneous: Two interesting NHL stats belong to Hurricanes folklore. First, Neil Sheehy was the last NHL player to wear jersey number 0, when he did so with the Whalers in 1988. He was forced to change his number due to a glitch with the NHL’s stat-tracking computer software. Second, Erik Cole was the first NHL player to be awarded two penalty shots in one game, during a November 2005 contest versus the Buffalo Sabres. He scored on the first attempt, but not the second.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Storm Surge

The Storm Surge

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

I chose one of the recipes created by the Cardiac Cane blog, using Cat5, the official beverage of the Hurricanes. The drink is fruit punch flavoured, so I’ve altered my version accordingly. I used a slice of cucumber for garnish, as I thought the green provided an homage to the Whalers, while its appearance was like the eye of a hurricane.

Sip Trips #219: No Winter Blues Here

February wasn’t full of events, but what did occur was some quality good times. The shortest month of the year did not disappoint, as we managed to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style and had a short getaway to the Sunshine Coast. Here’s what we got up to in February:

With some shopping to do for Boy Sip’s upcoming third birthday party, Mrs. Sip and I spent an evening in Bellingham, Washington. On our way back home, we popped into Bob’s Burgers & Brew for dinner. There, I had the Bacon Cheeseburger Wrap with Potato Salad, while also stealing Mrs. Sip’s side dish of their Jo Jos. All my food was really good, especially when paired with a District Hazy Duke IPA.

Bacon Cheeseburger

For our Valentine’s Day celebrations, we did the Love is Blind Wine Tasting at Township 7 Vineyards. There was a plate of snacks and desserts for each couple and I tried to guess the white wines, while Mrs. Sip tasted the reds. I didn’t get any right, as my guesses were IPA, Stout, Lager and Hefeweizen… clearly I didn’t understand the assignment! Mrs. Sip got one right of her four, so not too shabby.

Our early V-Day events continued that night, with The Love Voyage dinner by Cocktail Connoisseur, at what used to be Wildebeest. This fantastic feast included a five-course meal of shared dishes with cocktail pairings, taking guests through five love hubs of the world. The evening began with a welcome drink and the pairings were as follows:

  • Barcelona: Croquetas de Jamon and Amantes (Lovers) – Tequila, Blackberries, Hibiscus, Jalapeno, Smoke
  • Kyoto: Tuna Tartare and Angel of Kyoto – Choya Plum, Choya Yuzu, Dry Sake, Flowers
  • Venice: Scallop Risotto and Lovers on the Canal – Tequila, Passionfruit, Mango, Lime, Dry Ice, Sea Salt Tuile
  • Paris: Duck Breast and Midnight in Paris – Vodka, Grapefruit, Yuzu, Bergamot
  • New York: Cheesecake and On Top of the World – Vodka, Butterfly Pea Flower, Lavender, Lemon, Honey

There were also very cool projection effects on the tables during meals and interludes. All of this for only $129 per person, including gratuities. The company hopes to host future dinners like this and we will certainly be there, if they do.

Valentine's Day

The following weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were back in Downtown Vancouver. We began our evening by meeting friends for dinner at Elisa Steakhouse. My meal began with a Caesar Salad, followed by a main dish of the Sablefish, which was done in a very tasty sesame-soy and horseradish sauce. To drink I had a pair of cocktails, comprised of In Fair Jalisco (tequila, cognac, strega, lemon, orange and rosemary syrup, orange bitters) and The Diplomat and The Mule (rum, amaro montenegro, passionfruit puree, lime, simple syrup, ginger beer).

After dinner, we were off to the BCR Regimental Whiskey Tasting at the Beatty Street Drill Hall. This was the first time this event (one of my favourites each year) had been done since just before the pandemic, so it was great to be back in familiar territory. The bottles served, included Tobermory 17, Glengoyne 21, A Commune of Delights 8 (have to be a member of the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society to purchase bottles), Benriach 10, and Laphroaig 10 Batch 13. Mrs. Sip, joining me at the tasting for the first time, bought raffle tickets and won a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 small batch! To celebrate, we stayed out way past our bedtimes, finally returning home close to 2am.

Towards the end of the month, Mrs. Sip had work in Sechelt, so the whole Sip Family packed their bags for a few nights on the Sunshine Coast. After arriving, we had a late lunch at the Gumboot Restaurant. I had a Brisket Burger with Fries and a pint of Tapworks Storm Rider Hazy IPA, which was enough of a meal that I only snacked later in the evening.


We also visited the Lighthouse Pub/Buccaneers, where I tried a pint of their Lighthouse Pilsner (brewed by Foamers’ Follies), along with the Ultimate Piledriver Burger with Fries. This place has a terrific view. We were hit with a surprise snowfall during our stay, so it was neat to see the area blanketed in the white stuff.

On our way back to the ferry, we enjoyed a beverage at Persephone Brewing in Gibsons. Mrs. Sip had the Peach Hef, while I went with the Sunbather Witbier. Both were good and the kids got to let off some steam in the brewery’s playroom, featuring games, puzzles and other activities. The Sipplings particularly liked trying Crocodile Dentist.

That’s it for a February that flew by. March is a month we’re been looking forward to for sometime, as our two-week Hawaiian cruise finally sets sail. Mrs. Sip just scored a sweet balcony upgrade for us, so you better believe there will be much fun to come!