Canada – Black Tooth Grin

Stick and Puck

Today, we begin our 52-week tour around the world. Our first stop is the Sip Advisor’s homeland of Canada. The country’s greatest export (other than myself and Crown Royal) is the sport of hockey. It is our national pastime and just simply what we do best. With that in mind, here are some of the wackiest tales from the ice!

Brotherly Love

Fighting in hockey is completely accepted… in fact, it’s expected. But even this battle of fisticuffs surprised most fans. On Apr. 7, 1997, with the regular season winding down, the Hartford Whalers faced the Buffalo Sabres. As a scrum ensued in front of Hartford goalie Sean Burke, teammate Keith Primeau grabbed the primary culprit and ended up dropping the gloves with his own brother Wayne. Afterwards, legend has it that both siblings called their mother to apologize for the melee!

Fan Fest

One of the craziest moments in hockey history occurred on Dec. 23, 1979 during a Boston Bruins-New York Rangers tilt in the Big Apple. During a player scrum at the end of the game, a fan managed to cut Bruins player Stan Jonathan’s face with a rolled up program, as well as take his stick. This caused Jonathan’s teammates Terry O’Reilly and Peter McNab to venture over the Plexiglas and into the stands to apprehend the fan. The brawl’s highlight featured future NHL coach, general manager, and broadcaster, Mike Milbury, beating the guilty fan with his own shoe. O’Reilly, McNab, and Milbury were all suspended and fined, while the fan was sentenced to six months in jail.

Wishing for a Mulligan

When a player is streaking in on an empty net, most fans would conclude that the goal is a gimme. But there are two notable exceptions to the rule. One saw Nashville Predators rookie Craig Smith flying into the opponent’s zone all alone, only to fire the puck over the net and out of play, even while others assumed he had scored. The more infamous incident occurred when former first overall draft choice Patrik Stefan lost control of the puck while hot dogging and was forced to watch in horror as the Edmonton Oilers went the other way to tie the game with seconds left.

Karma’s Coming

During a Jan. 26, 2001 contest between the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche, forward Steve Sullivan was struck with a high stick and injured, requiring stitches. He was promptly heckled by a fan, but as the old saying goes: “Karma is a bitch!” Later on in the evening, the puck ended up leaving the playing surface and hitting the same fan who had jeered Sullivan earlier. Sullivan took this opportunity to chirp the fan back… oh, and he also scored two short-handed goals after re-emerging from the trainer’s room.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The referees never get the call right. This is universally accepted. On one trip to the penalty box, however, a frustrated Doug Gilmour took his anger out on the poor door, slamming and destroying it. With shards of glass everywhere, Gilmour looked a little sheepish still sitting in the box and was perhaps a little surprised at his own strength. If you ever wondered why they nicknamed Gilmour “Killer”, you might have your answer here!

Bat-Man

Had this game been played around Halloween, things would have been all the more spookier. Throughout most of the contest, a bat was spotted flying around the arena, even coming down to the ice surface and buzzing by players heads. Finally, Buffalo’s Jim Lorentz knocked it out of the air with his stick, before it was carried off the ice. Moments later, fog encompassed the ice surface making it difficult for play to resume. I guess Dracula was pissed and trying to extract his revenge on the guilty parties.

The Most Dangerous Job

Mascots are a very polarizing topic. Some people love them, while others loathe them. I get their appeal to young kids, but I’m personally not a fan… and neither is Terry O’Reilly, it would seem. Yes, this is the same Terry O’Reilly who went into the New York stands in the brawl listed above. On this fateful night, California Golden Seals mascot Krazy George was working his mojo and taunting the Boston Bruins by beating away at a drum. This apparently was enough to set off the man known as “Bloody O’Reilly” and the “Tasmanian Devil”, as he proceeded to jab George with his stick and chase him away from the penalty box.

Canada: Black Tooth Grin

Black Tooth Grin Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey
  • Splash of Cola
  • Garnish with Gum and Strawberry Syrup

So much fighting in hockey… brother vs. brother, players vs. fans, players vs. mascots… that’s why we love the game so much! Do you have a wacky hockey moment you expected to see on this list? Drop the gloves with the Sip Advisor and leave a message!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
What can I say about Crown Royal Whiskey that hasn’t already been said… it’s a freakin’ Canadian institution and one of my favourite spirits of all time. This drink was actually created by late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, but I thought it also fit the bill for an article about hockey players, given their many unfortunate examples of dental damage! It was a good cocktail, with which I subbed in Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey (another Canadian product) for Seagram’s 7 Whiskey. Then I used pieces of Gum and drips of Strawberry Syrup to portray some of that aforementioned dental damage!

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September 10 – Homeward Bound

Welcome Back

Some players just don’t look right in jerseys that differ from the one they’ve worn for years. In most of the big leagues, athletes can sign one-day contracts so that they may retire as a member of the team that made their career. Other times, a trade brings that star back into the fold. Then, there’s always returning from retirement. Here is some of the greatest returns home in sports history.

Trevor Linden – Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

Trevor Linden, captain of the Vancouver Canucks was traded to the New York Islanders in 1998. After bouncing around to a couple other teams, the Canucks reacquired the heart and soul leader of their last championship appearance team. In Linden’s first game back (which I attended with the Sip Family), he notched a couple points and was named the second star of the game, allowing fans to dedicate all their energy specifically to one of the team’s most legendary figures. A few years later, Linden left the game the right way, serenaded by the fans who adored him for so many years, and making a final trip around the ice surface that hosted so many memories for all involved.

Doug Gilmour – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Growing up, for some bizarre reason that I may never be able to explain, I was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Please collect your jaws from the floor… sadly, it’s true. My favourite player was Doug Gilmour, a gritty and talented player, who nearly led the team to their first Stanley Cup since 1967. Gilmour was traded to New Jersey in 1997, but would return to the Leafs at the 2003 trade deadline, causing fans to rejoice. Sadly, in just his second shift back with the team, he collided knee-on-knee with Calgary’s Dave Lowry and was done for the season, later calling it a career that summer.

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Entertainment

In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan’s symbiotic relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation launched both entities into the stratosphere. Working together, Hogan became one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time, while the WWF became the first promotion to enjoy national mainstream exposure and success. Hogan left the company in 1993 to perform in World Championship Wrestling and didn’t return to the soon-to-be-renamed WWE until 2002. He originally returned as a bad guy, but fans would not have any of that, cheering for Hogan to once again become the “Real American” character most had grown up with. They got their wish and fans feverishly ate up the nostalgia act.

Ken Griffey, Jr. – Seattle Mariners (MLB)

Ken Griffey, Jr. grew up in the Seattle Mariners organization, debuting in 1989 and even playing alongside his father, Ken Griffey, Sr. Griffey became the face of the franchise and even the entire league, adorning video games, posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise. The slugger was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, as he wished to play closer to home and be more involved in the lives of his children. Griffey’s numbers declined following the trade, but petitions were signed by Seattle fans to bring him back. Finally, in 2009, Griffey returned to the Mariners. His second tenure had its issues, like Griffey being accused of napping in the clubhouse during games, but he was honoured into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2013.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (NBA)

After winning three straight NBA titles in the early 90’s, there was nothing left for Michael Jordan to accomplish. When his father was murdered that summer, Jordan retired from basketball and decided to try his hand at professional baseball, hoping to realize his father’s dream of him playing in the Majors. When his baseball dream fizzled out, it was back to the hard court and the Bulls for Jordan. Another three NBA Championships followed before Jordan left the game again in 1999. His last return to basketball was with the Washington Wizards, a team he had part-ownership with and had been President of Basketball Operations.

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Like Jordan, Mario Lemieux kept returning to the game he loved after time away from the rink proved he still had too much passion for the sport to watch from the sidelines. Super Mario returned from cancer and a retirement to put up all-star level numbers and pad his legacy as one of the game’s greatest players. While he never won another Stanley Cup, he was an integral member of Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics and also saved the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise as owner of the team, ushering in the Sidney Crosby era.

Drink #253: Homeward Bound

Sept 10

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

What was your favourite return home? As above, it can be an athlete, an actor, or hell, it could be Ron Jeremy’s long-awaited return to the world of pornography!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a simple, but very enjoyable cocktail. I love the name about as much as I adore Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and the moment I saw this recipe advertised at a local bar, I knew I’d be making it when I went home. The caramel-flavour of the Spiced Rum works nicely with the tart Lemonade and makes for one fine drink!