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.

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.

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.

Calgary Flames – Calgary Flames Martini

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 throw on the cowboy boots and leather chaps, en route to Calgary, to investigate how hot them Flames really are:

Establishment Story: The Flames relocated from Atlanta – where they had played from 1972 to 1980 – keeping the Flames nickname from their predecessor. The Flames filled a professional hockey void in the city that had existed since the World Hockey Association’s Calgary Cowboys had folded in 1977. The team has been locally owned by a group of oil tycoons and others since 1981.

Stanley Cups: The Flames have a sole Stanley Cup, winning the championship in 1989. They have appeared in two other Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 (the same team they would defeat in 1989) and coming up short against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. The Flames 1989 triumph was the only time the famed Montreal Forum witnessed an opposing team capture the Stanley Cup.

Celebrity Fan: The famous Hart wrestling family is synonymous with Calgary. Therefore, it’s no surprise Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart is a fan of the Flames. Hart was even a co-founding owner of the Western Hockey League Calgary Hitmen, along with Flames star Theoren Fleury. The Hitmen are now owned and operated by the Flames ownership group. Other notable Flames fans include Letterkenny creator Jared Keeso, country musician George Canyon and golfer Graham Delaet.

Bret Hart

Super Fan: A couple Flames fans have been profiled for the man caves they have created, dedicated to the team. Dean McCord and Chris Payne have each created settings to watch games that are the next best thing to being in attendance at the Saddledome, with large TVs, memorabilia and lighting/sound effects. Both of their homes have become popular places for their friends to enjoy Calgary games.

Mascot: Harvey the Hound was the NHL’s first mascot, debuting in 1983 as the Flames first “pound” draft selection. A memorable moment for Harvey occurred in 2003, when he was taunting Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who proceeded to pulls Harvey’s tongue out and throw it into the stands. Harvey has also served as the secondary mascot of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.

Tradition: Since the 1986 playoffs, when the Flames battled and defeated the Edmonton Oilers, fans have filled the Saddledome, all donning Flames jerseys, t-shirts and other paraphernalia, creating the C of Red. Flames playoff victories feature fans flocking to the Red Mile, a stretch of 17th Avenue SW, in Calgary. Prior to the Red Mile, fans celebrated on 11th Avenue SW, known as Electric Avenue.

Appearances in Media: Iconic X-Men character, Wolverine, is a Calgary Flames fan. This makes sense, as Wolverine’s fictional backstory has him being from Alberta. His devotion to the Flames goes so far, that in Wolverine: First Class #6, his game watching is interrupted by some robots, causing him to go nuts on the machines, all while clad in a Flames jersey. MacGyver was also a big Flames fan, often wearing various merchandise on the hit 80’s TV show.


Events/Scandals: The Flames organization’s attempts to build a new arena, replacing the 39-year-old Saddledome (one of the oldest rinks in the league) can best be described as a rollercoaster ride. Deals have been made and later reneged on, while team management and Calgary city council continue to clash. The latest is that the two sides have resumed talks over a new home for the Flames, but no one can predict how it all finally plays out.

Rivalry: The Battle of Alberta, against provincial nemesis the Edmonton Oilers, is one of hockey’s greatest rivalries. Between 1983 and 1990, the Flames and Oilers dominated the NHL, with one of the teams appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals each year, totalling six Stanley Cup wins. Other top opponents of the Flames include the Vancouver Canucks, with the two teams having met in many playoff clashes.

Tragedy: Two Flames prospects have sadly passed away following being drafted by the team. First, George Pelawa was selected 16th overall in 1986, but was killed in a car accident that summer. More than two decades later, Mickey Renaud was drafted 143rd overall in 2007, but died suddenly, due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart), on February 18, 2008.

Player Nicknames: Nicknames in sports are common, but it’s rare when a player goes out and trademarks their moniker. Johnny Gaudreau spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Flames and became known as Johnny Hockey during that time. Gaudreau took inspiration from Johnny Manziel, who trademarked the nickname Johnny Football in 2014, when he was a big time college football quarterback, before quickly fizzling out as a professional.

Battle of Alberta

Line: Two of the highest scoring lines in Flames history never received the nickname treatment. This includes the units of Gary Roberts, Robert Reichel and Theo Fleury and Johnny Gaudrea, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm. One trio that did gain a humourous moniker was the Full Pension Line of Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson, based on each player surpassing the minimum games needed to earn a full NHL pension.

Captain: Jarome Iginla was named captain of the Flames for the 2003-04 season, with Craig Conroy relinquishing the ‘C’ to his teammate. Iginla would serve in the role until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2013 trade deadline. He had spent 16 seasons in Calgary, setting a number of club records along the way. Iginla’s number 12 was retired by the Flames in 2019.

Enforcer: Tim Hunter holds the Flames records for total penalty minutes (2,405), penalty minutes in a season (375) and penalty minutes in a playoff run (108). Hunter played 545 games for Calgary – his hometown team – being a member of the 1989 Stanley Cup-winning squad. Hunter left the Flames as the final pick of the 1992 Expansion Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, although he was quickly traded to the Quebec Nordiques.

Family Values: Two pairs of brothers have played for the Flames at the same time. First, Robyn and Richie Regehr patrolled the Calgary blueline together for 20 games over two seasons. Later, Dougie and Freddie Hamilton spent parts of three seasons playing together with the Flames. It should also be noted, a number of the Sutter brothers have had roles with the team, including Brian, Darryl and Brent each coaching the club.

Jarome Iginla

Returning Players: Theo Fleury is one of the most beloved players to ever suit up for the Flames. His 1999 trade away from Calgary, following 11 seasons with the club, was emotional for all parties. In 2009, after six years away from the NHL, Fleury attempted to make a comeback and there was only one place he wanted it to happen. After recording four points in four pre-season games, Fleury was released from his tryout, but was able to retire as a member of the Flames.

Short Stint: Jaromir Jagr is a legend in the game of hockey, but his time with the Flames is best described as anything but legendary. Jagr signed with Calgary as the 2017-18 season was about to begin. Three months later, the Flames were in talks to terminate Jagr’s contract, following one goal and six assists in 22 games. Jagr returned to HC Kladno, the club he owns, where he still plays to this day.

Undrafted: When Martin St. Louis retired, he was fifth all-time in points by an undrafted player, but his success came after leaving Calgary. As for players who are best recognized as a member of the Flames, defenseman Mark Giordano was signed after attending Calgary’s 2004 summer camp. In 2019, at the age of 35 and serving as the Flames captain, Giordano would win the Norris Trophy, as the NHL’s best defenseman.

Trade: One of the best deals the Flames ever made, as well as one of their worst transactions, both involved Doug Gilmour. Gilmour was acquired by Calgary in 1988, the centerpiece of a seven-player deal with the St. Louis Blues. The Flames would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season. Then, in 1992, a disgruntled Gilmour was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, this time the focal point of a 10-player swap.

Jaromir Jagr

Signing: Two of the Flames worst contracts ever went to forwards Troy Brouwer (four-year, $18 million in 2016) and James Neal (five-year, $28.75 million in 2018). Brouwer was bought out of his deal after two increasingly disappointing seasons, while Neal was traded after one campaign, with the Flames taking back Milan Lucic’s equally bad deal (seven-year, $42 million in 2016) with the Edmonton Oilers, in return.

Draft Pick: The highest the Flames have ever drafted, was fourth overall in 2014. They selected Sam Bennett, who is considered a bust with the team, although he has since gone on to some success with the Florida Panthers. As for good picks, Calgary’s 1984 draft was particularly fruitful, as they added Gary Roberts (12th overall), Paul Ranheim (38th), Brett Hull (117th) and Gary Suter (180th). They joined 1981 draftess Al MacInnis (15th) and Mike Vernon (56th).

Holdouts: Joe Nieuwendyk was the captain of the Flames in 1995, when he endured a contract dispute with the organization. Nieuwendyk sat out until he was traded to the Dallas Stars on December 19, 1995, in exchange for Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen. The deal worked out for both teams, as Nieuwendyk would eventually win a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999, while Jarome Iginla became the face of the franchise for more than a decade.

Buyouts: Michael Stone’s 2019 buyout was notable not for how long or how expensive the compensation would take to pay out, but because over a month later, the Flames signed him to another deal. Originally, he was the odd man out on full defense corps, resulting in the final season of his three-year contract being bought out. When an off-season injury to fellow d-man Juuso Valimaki occurred, Calgary circled back to a known commodity and inked Stone to a league minimum deal.

Michael Stone

Unique Game: The Flames have played in two Heritage Classic contests. First, in 2011, they defeated the Montreal Canadiens at McMahon Stadium, in Calgary. Then, in 2019, they lost to the Winnipeg Jets at Mosaic Stadium, in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Flames also opened the 1998-99 season with a pair of games against the San Jose Sharks in Tokyo, Japan, as well as playing two 2018 exhibition matches against the Boston Bruins, in Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

Goal: Flames captain Lanny McDonald had sat out much of the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals, but was reinserted into the lineup for Game 6. With the game tied, McDonald scored to give Calgary the lead, en route to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup. The marker would prove to be McDonald’s final NHL goal, as he would retire after the championship victory. McDonald lifting the cup and parading it around the ice is among the greatest images in Flames history.

Fight/Brawl: Stu Grimson was only a rookie when he defeated one of the NHL’s toughest fighters in Dave Brown of the Edmonton Oilers. The rematch didn’t go as well, with Grimson suffering skull fractures from the one-sided beating. Emergency surgery for Grimson was required, but the enforcer went on to a long career, earning a reputation as a feared pugilist and one of the best nicknames the sports world has ever heard, the Grim Reaper.

Injury: In November 1991, Gary Roberts was hit from behind by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bob Rouse, needing a stretcher to be removed from the ice. This was the start of neck issues for Roberts, who would eventually have to play wearing a brace. After missing much of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, Roberts decided to retire, at the age of 30. Thankfully, after some training and lifestyle changes, Roberts was able to return to hockey in 1997, playing 12 more seasons.

Lanny McDonald

Penalty: On January 27, 2016, Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman was hit hard into the end boards. On his way back to the bench, Wideman seemed to take his frustrations out on linesman Don Henderson, knocking the official to the ice with a crosscheck. Wideman was suspended for 20 games, later reduced to 10 games by an arbiter. Henderson, who suffered a concussion and never officiated another NHL game, sued Wideman and the Flames for $10.25 million, but the case was stayed by the court.

Wildest Story: Social media can actually be an effective tool, as seen when former NHL player Akim Aliu took to Twitter in 2019, accusing Flames coach Bill Peters of directing racial comments towards him when they were both with the minor league Rockford IceHogs. Days later, Peters resigned from the team, while an investigation was being done by Flames team management. Since then, Peters has only coached briefly in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Blooper: The Flames nearly committed a massive off-ice blunder in February 2013, when they signed Colorado Avalanche holdout Ryan O’Reilly to a two-year, $10 million offer sheet. Had the Avalanche chose to not match the contract, Calgary would have had to compensate Colorado with draft picks AND could have still lost the player through waivers, since O’Reilly had played games in the Kontinental Hockey League, prior to signing a NHL contract.

Miscellaneous: No article about the Flames could be complete without mentioning Bearcat Murray – the most recognizable trainer in NHL history. Murray joined the Flames with their 1980 arrival in Calgary and stayed with the team on the bench until retiring in 1996, when he moved into the role of a community ambassador. Fan clubs for the recognizable trainer popped up in both Boston and Montreal and Murray was even inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He passed away in June 2022.

Calgary Flames: Calgary Flames Martini

Calgary Flames Martini

  • 2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • 1 oz Peach Liqueur
  • Garnish with Raspberries

Four ounces of Dry Vermouth, as the recipe called for, seemed excessive, so I scaled it back to two ounces. Apparently, this beverage can be found in bars along Calgary’s Red Mile and is popular with many patrons.

Buffalo Sabres – Buffalo Cocktail

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 journey to Buffalo to eat some wings… er, I mean learn about the Sabres and what makes them so tasty (sorry, still thinking about those wings!):

Establishment Story: The Sabres entered the NHL as an expansion team in 1970. The original owners, the Knox family, had tried twice before to bring an NHL team to Buffalo, first for the original league expansion in 1967 and next when trying to relocate the Oakland Seals. The same year the Sabres joined the NHL, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Braves joined the National Football League and National Basketball Association, respectively.

Stanley Cups: Much like their expansion cousins, the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo has never won the Stanley Cup. They have reached the finals twice, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975 and Dallas Stars in 1999. Their defeat by Dallas is best remembered for the controversial series-ending overtime goal, scored by Brett Hull, with his foot in the crease. For years, this act resulted in no goal being awarded and the rule was changed following this moment.

Celebrity Fan: Actress Noureen DeWulf, who has appeared in movies such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and The Back-up Plan, as well as the TV series Anger Management, took her fandom of the Sabres to a whole new level in 2011, when she married goaltender Ryan Miller. DeWulf later appeared on the reality series Hockey Wives, which followed her life and others married to or dating NHL players.

Buffalo Sabres

Super Fan: Anna Szczepanksi (aka Momzie) has been a fan of the Sabres since their inception, attending nearly every home game the team has ever played from her rinkside seat. Following the 2018-19 season, at the age of 95, Szczepanski was presented the Sabres Fan of the Year award, which came with the honour of dropping the puck for a ceremonial face-off at the last home game of that campaign.

Mascot: Sabretooth is a sabre-toothed tiger, with a coat of the Sabres blue and yellow colours. His favourite foods include chicken wings (I’m guessing in Buffalo sauce) and fired penguin, while his preferred songs are comprised of Let Me Clear My Throat, Sabre Dance and Eye of the Tiger. Sabretooth was also the mascot of the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits from 1992 to 1998.

Tradition: Sabre Dance is a musical movement from the 1942 ballet Gayane, which features dancers using sabres. It has been used as an unofficial anthem for the Sabres throughout their existence. Although it disappeared for a time, the song returned in 2011 and is played as the Sabres return to the ice after the first and second intermissions, as well as after goals.

Appearances in Media: Part of the movie Bruce Almighty’s climax involves the Sabres winning the Stanley Cup, which results in fans rioting and chaos spreading across Buffalo. It should be noted, not a single rioter is wearing Sabres gear, but a more generic version of the team’s red and black colour scheme. Also, the Sabres defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, which isn’t possible, since both teams are in the same conference.

Sabres Cup

Events/Scandals: Jack Eichel’s exit from Buffalo came with much controversy. When the captain suffered a disc herniation in his neck in April 2021, Eichel wanted to undergo disc replacement surgery, while the team preferred he have the more common fusion surgery. The saga ended with Eichel being stripped of his captaincy and later traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for a package of assets. Eichel then finally had the surgery of his choice in November 2021.

Rivalry: The Sabres two greatest rivals are Atlantic Division opponents the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Their feud with the Leafs is known as the Battle of the QEW, the route which connects the team’s arenas, only 100 miles apart from each other. This brings a large contingent of Leafs fans to any game in Buffalo. The Sabres and Bruins have met in the playoffs eight times, with the Bruins winning the first five series, before Buffalo finally broke through in 1993.

Tragedy: Defenseman Tim Horton played the last two seasons of his long NHL career with the Sabres. On February 21, 1974, Horton was killed in a single-vehicle car crash, while returning to Buffalo, following playing in Toronto the night before. It was later revealed he was driving while intoxicated. Despite being named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017, Horton is best recognized for co-founding the Tim Hortons donut chain, which is iconic across Canada.

Player Nicknames: Dominik Hasek’s ascent to being one of hockey’s greatest goalies ever may have never happened were it not for his trade from the Chicago Blackhawks to Buffalo. Once a member of the Sabres, his talents shined and he was aptly nicknamed The Dominator, as a result. Hasek’s success was credited for opening the door for other European goalies to make their way to the NHL.

Jack Eichel

Line: The French Connection line of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert, played together from 1972 to 1979. The trio was named the French Connection, based off the 1971 movie, because all three were from Quebec. They combined for 1,681 points over 1,536 games played together. Statues of each of the three players can be found outside the KeyBank Center.

Captain: Gilbert Perreault played his entire 17-season career with the Sabres. He was the team’s first ever draft pick and captained Buffalo from 1981 to 1986. Perreault holds the Sabres franchise records for goals, assists, points and games played. Another interesting note about Perreault, he originally retired at the end of the 1985-86 season, but returned for 20 games the following campaign, in order to be eligible for a better NHL pension.

Enforcer: Rob Ray holds the record for most penalty minutes in franchise history at 3,189. He was such a prolific pugilist, a rule was even created based off his fighting style, where he would quickly discard his jersey and shoulder pads, allowing freedom from his opponent’s grasp and being able to throw punches at will. Today, a player whose jersey is not tied down and comes off in a fight, receives a game misconduct.

Family Values: Brothers Bob and Jean-Francois Sauve were members of the Sabres organization from 1980 to 1983, except for a 41-game tenure for Bob with the Detroit Red Wings. Bob was a goalie for the team, while Jean-Francois played center. Decades later, brothers Cal and Ryan O’Reilly would be teammates together, but while Ryan was a star with Buffalo, Cal spent the majority of 2015-2017 with the minor league Rochester Americans.

French Connection

Returning Players: Dave Andreychuk was drafted 16th overall in 1982 by the Sabres. He spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Buffalo, before being traded to Toronto. After stints with four teams, Andreychuk returned to the Sabres for the 2000-01 season. He moved on to the Tampa Bay Lightning next, where he would win his only Stanley Cup in 2004. Andreychuk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Short Stint: Following being traded to Buffalo, as part of the deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues, Patrik Berglund played in only 23 games, before leaving the team, resulting in him being suspended and his contract terminated. Berglund walked away from $12.5 million remaining on his contract, in the name of improving his mental health. He returned to hockey the next season, playing in Sweden.

Undrafted: Rick Dudley joined the Sabres in 1972-73 and played 279 games over two stints with the club (he spent four seasons with the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association (WHA) in between). In 1989, Dudley returned to Buffalo as head coach of the Sabres, lasting two and a half seasons before being fired. Dudley is currently a Senior Advisor to the GM with the Florida Panthers.

Trade: The absolute steal of acquiring Dominik Hasek from the Chicago Blackhawks is the Sabres greatest trade ever. All they had to give up was fellow goalie Stephane Beauregard and a fourth round pick in the 1993 draft, which was used on Eric Daze. Out of the shadow of Blackhawks starter Ed Belfour, Hasek flourished in Buffalo, going on to capture six Vezina Trophies and two William M. Jennings Trophies.

Dominik Hasek

Signing: The Sabres are guilty of making some really bad signings over the salary cap era. This included Ville Leino (six years, $27 million) and Christian Ehrhoff (10 years, $40 million) in 2011, Matt Moulson (five years, $25 million) in 2014, and Kyle Okposo (seven years, $42 million) in 2016. Leino and Ehrhoff would receive compliance buyouts in 2014, while Moulson was demoted to the minors in 2017. Okposo remains with Buffalo, but has never lived up to the expectations of his contract.

Draft Pick: The Sabres first-ever draft pick was the first overall selection of the 1970 entry draft. Gilbert Perreault was the obvious choice and he would write much of their record book, while playing his entire career with the team. Buffalo has selected first overall three other times, picking Pierre Turgeon in 1987, Rasmus Dahlin in 2018 and Owen Power in 2021. The Sabres also had back-to-back second overall picks in 2014 and 2015, taking Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel.

Holdouts: Mike Peca sat out the entire 2000-01 season, before finally being traded to the New York Islanders for Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, the fifth and eighth overall picks in the 1999 draft. Peca was the Sabres captain at the time of his holdout, a role he gave up midway through the contract dispute. Peca had been the team’s captain since 1997, leading them to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals.

Buyouts: Aside from the previously mentioned buyouts for Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, the Sabres also bought out center Cody Hodgson in 2015. Just two years prior, Hodgson had been signed to a six-year, $25.5 million pact, but recorded only six goals and 13 points in the second year of the deal. Following one season with the Nashville Predators/minor league Milwaukee Admirals, Hodgson was forced to retire due to malignant hyperthermia.

Draft Lottery

Unique Game: The Sabres were part of the NHL’s first outdoor regular season game in the U.S. when they participated in the 2008 Winter Classic vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their next Winter Classic appearance would be in 2018 against the New York Rangers. The Sabres were outside again against the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2022 Heritage Classic in Hamilton, Ontario. Buffalo also opened the 2011 season against the Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki, Finland and Los Angeles Kings in Berlin, Germany.

Goal: While Brad May wasn’t known for his scoring prowess, he scored one of the most memorable goals in Sabres history. In the first round of the 1993 playoffs, the Sabres had pushed the heavily favoured Boston Bruins to the brink of elimination. In overtime of Game 4, May scored, completing the sweep. Perhaps better than the actual goal was legendary Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret’s call, where he repeatedly shouted “Mayday”, giving the famous game-winner its name.

Fight/Brawl: Rob Ray’s fighting skills were also handy off the ice, as seen during an April 14, 1992 game versus the Quebec Nordiques. While a scrum was taking place on the ice, an inebriated Nordiques fan came on the ice and charged at the Sabres bench. Ray pummeled the fan with repeated punches, as security tried to pull the fan away. Luckily for Ray, no criminal charges or NHL discipline were levied for the incident.

Injury: In one of the NHL’s most gruesome injuries of all-time, Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk had his carotid artery and jugular vein cut by an errant skate blade. Malarchuk survived because of the quick action of trainer Jim Pizzutelli, a former US Army combat medic. The cut needed 300 stitches to be repaired and Malarchuk remarkably returned to action 10 days later, but the incident caused him post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues.

Rob Ray

Penalty: During the 1997 playoffs, Dominik Hasek claimed he had injured his knee. Journalist Jim Kelley questioned whether the injury was legit and accused Hasek of having “poor mental toughness”. When Kelley approached Hasek for an interview days later, Hasek attacked the writer, ripping his shirt off. This resulted in Hasek being suspended for three games and fined $10,000.

Wildest Story: In 1989, Alexander Mogilny became the first hockey player to defect from the Soviet Union. He had been drafted by the Sabres in 1988 and following the conclusion of the 1989 World Championships in Sweden, he fled with the help of Sabres officials. For his debut with Buffalo, Mogilny wore jersey number 89, is honour of the year he arrived and also his draft position.

Blooper: During a game against the San Jose Sharks on March 14, 2017, Sabres center Jack Eichel was passed the puck deep in his own zone. He was checked as he went to pull the puck forward and it bounced off his skate and dribbled into the net past goalie Robin Lehner. The own goal would prove to be the game winner that night, as the Sharks defeated the Sabres 4-1. On the plus side, Eichel scored for his own team, as well.

Miscellaneous: The Sabres 11th round draft choice (183rd overall) at the 1974 NHL amateur draft was the fictional Taro Tsujimoto. Buffalo GM Punch Imlach made the selection in protest of how the draft was being operated, in order to thwart the rival WHA. Tsujimoto was said to have previously played for the Tokyo Katanas (similar to a sabre). On occasion, fans would chant ‘We Want Taro’, following the hoax being revealed and a jersey with his name and number 74 is available for sale.

Buffalo Sabres: Buffalo Cocktail

Buffalo Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Whiskey
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I searched extensively for a Sabres-themed cocktail and came up empty. The best I could find was this drink, suggested to be consumed while supporting Buffalo-based teams. To jazz up the recipe, I used Crown Royal Peach Whiskey and Mango Club Soda.

Boston Bruins – Black and Gold

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’re shipping up to Boston to learn about the Bruins and what makes them so big and bad:

Establishment Story: The Bruins were founded in 1924, making them the oldest active U.S.-based team in the NHL. They are an Original Six franchise, created after American businessman Charles Adams convinced the NHL to expand into the U.S. The team’s first GM, Art Ross, chose the team’s name of Bruins, a nickname for brown bears, which matched the team’s original colours of brown and yellow, similar to Adams’ grocery store chain.

Stanley Cups: The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups, most recently sipping from Lord Stanley’s chalice in 2011. Boston has also come up short in the Stanley Cup Finals 14 times, the most runner-up ribbons in NHL history. Their victories came over the New York Rangers (1929 and 1972), Toronto Maple Leafs (1939), Detroit Red Wings (1941), St. Louis Blues (1970), and Vancouver Canucks (2011).

Celebrity Fan: The Bruins have a long list of celebrity supporters. Among them, are the likes of Denis Leary, John Krasinski, Bill Burr, Conor McGregor, and the band Dropkick Murphys.  In a great trolling move, Burr made “Boston” the promo code to some of his comedy shows in Montreal, taking a jab at the long-time Bruins rival. The Dropkick Murphys have a number of songs either used by the Bruins or composed in homage to the team.

Boston Bruins

Super Fan: Liam Fitzgerald, aka Fist-Bump Kid, first became famous for a viral video showing the youngster fist-bumping Bruins players, as they left the ice following their pre-game warmup on November 4, 2014. Fitzgerald, who was born with Down syndrome and diagnosed with leukemia when he was three, was made an honourary member of the team and even has his own hockey card. Now 16, Fist-Bump Kid appeared at the 2023 Winter Classic, fist-bumping Boston players as they were introduced.

Mascot: Blades the Bruin made his debut in 1999. His backstory says Blades was first introduced to hockey by watching long-time Bruins organization member Johnny Bucyk play pond hockey with some kids. Blades hopped into Bucyk’s truck after one of these sessions, arriving later at Boston Garden. There, Bucyk fed Blades pizza, hotdogs, popcorn and soda, and the bear never returned to the wild.

Tradition: Prior to puck drop each night, the Fan Banner, a giant Bruins flag, is passed around the lower bowl as Cochise by the band Audioslave blasts over the speaker system. An honourary Fan Banner captain is often used to lead the pre-game ceremony, which has included other Boston-area sports stars, such as Pedro Martinez and Julian Edelman, as well as inspirational honourees, like the Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

Appearances in Media: The Bruins have been featured in a number of movies and TV shows. First, on Cheers, fictional Bruins goalie Eddie LeBec marries bartender Carla Tortelli. Also, on Rescue Me, firefighter Tommy Gavin (played by Denis Leary) plays on the FDNY hockey team, which faces off against former Bruins Cam Neely and Phil Esposito. Lastly, in Happy Gilmore, the titular character is clad in Bruins home and away jerseys during the film.

Happy Gilmore

Events/Scandals: Mitchell Miller was a renounced draft pick by Arizona Coyotes in 2020, when it was revealed he had repeatedly bullied a developmentally challenged classmate. For some reason, the Bruins thought signing Miller in 2022 was a good idea, kicking another hornet’s nest of troubles for the NHL. Two days after announcing the signing, the Bruins parted ways with Miller, but the damage to the team brand was already done.

Rivalry: The Bruins have had a number of storied rivalries throughout their history. Their arch nemesis would have to be the Montreal Canadiens, whom they have battled in the playoffs 34 times, with Montreal winning 18 straight post-season meetings from 1946 to 1987. Other rivals of the Bruins include the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers (Big Bad Bruins vs. Broad Street Bullies), as well as the defunct Hartford Whalers.

Tragedy: Normand Leveille was Boston’s top pick of the 1981 draft and showed promise in his rookie season, tallying 33 points in 60 games. Sadly, the Bruins never got to see what Leveille would become, as early in his sophomore campaign, he suffered a brain aneurysm, putting him into a three-week coma. Leveille survived, but lost the ability to walk, ending his NHL career at only 19 years old.

Player Nicknames: In 1938, when goalie Frank Brimsek recorded six shutouts in his first seven games with the Bruins, media and fans began calling him Mr. Zero and the ill will showed towards him for being brought in to replace fan favourite Tiny Thompson quickly faded. Later that season, Brimsek’s teammate Mel Hill earned the moniker Sudden Death, thanks to scoring three overtime game-winning goals, helping Boston win the Stanley Cup.

Bruins vs. Canadiens

Line: A number of Bruins lines have gained notoriety, including the Kraut Line (Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart, and Bobby Bauer), the Nitro Line (Wayne Cashman, Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge) and the Perfection Line (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak). The Kraut Line were the first unit to finish a season first, second and third in NHL scoring, while the Nitro Line led the team to two Stanley Cups.

Captain: Zdeno Chara was one of the Bruins best acquisitions ever, when they signed the towering defenseman in 2006. Chara would immediately become captain and lead the 2011 squad to the Stanley Cup. He remained with the team and served in the role of captain for 14 seasons, which included two other unsuccessful trips to the Stanley Cup Finals. Chara signed a one-day contract with Boston in September 2022, in order to retire as a member of the Bruins.

Enforcer: Terry O’Reilly was a great protector of his teammates, who affectionately nicknamed him Taz. Another moniker he was given, this time by the press, was Bloody O’Reilly. O’Reilly holds the Bruins franchise record for penalty minutes with 2,095. He was even referenced as Happy Gilmore’s favourite hockey play. O’Reilly’s #24 jersey was retired by the team in 2002.

Family Values: A few father and son duos enjoyed separate stints with the Bruins, including franchise legend Ray Bourque and son Chris; Ted Donato and son Ryan (each drafted by the Bruins 27 years apart); Ken Hodge and son Ken Jr. (first father and son to score a hat trick for the same team); and Ron Grahame and son John (first father and son to play goalie for the same team).


Returning Players: Goalie Gerry Cheevers was claimed by the Bruins in 1965 Intra-League Draft and would go on to backstop the team to their 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cups. He also went on a NHL record 32-game undefeated streak in 1972, before leaving to play in the World Hockey Association. Following a contract dispute in 1975, Cheevers returned to Boston, finishing his career with five more seasons. Cheevers may be best remembered for his mask, which he marked with stitches in places it had been hit.

Short Stint: A pair of Hall of Fame defensemen finished their careers with the Bruins. First, Paul Coffey was signed to a two-year, $4 million contract in the 2000 off-season, but after 18 games and only providing four assists, he was waived and went unclaimed by another team. Next, Brian Leetch joined Boston for the 2005-06 season, recording his 1,000 career point, over 61 contests with the team.

Undrafted: Defenseman Torey Krug was signed out of the NCAA in 2012, following a season where he led the league in scoring and was named a Hobey Baker Award (Player of the Year) finalist. Krug remained with the Bruins until 2020. Another notable college signing for Boston was Mike Milbury, who would spend his entire 12-season NHL career with the Bruins and also coach the team from 1989 to 1991.

Trade: Among the Bruins greatest trades, was acquiring star Phil Esposito from the Chicago Blackhawks in 1967. Esposito came to Boston along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield, developing into one of the best players of his generation. Esposito would win two Stanley Cups as a member of the Bruins, before being dealt in another blockbuster to the New York Rangers in 1975.

Phil Esposito

Signing: The rules of the NHL were much different in 1962, when the Bruins signed future superstar Bobby Orr, at the time only 14 years old. The terms of the deal saw the Bruins give Orr and his family a $10,000 signing bonus, a new car and add stucco to their home. Orr would finally join the Bruins on the ice as an 18-year-old, staying with the team for 10 seasons, winning eight straight (1968-75) Norris Trophies, as the NHL’s top defenseman.

Draft Pick: The Bruins greatest selection ever was taking Ray Bourque 8th overall in 1979. Perhaps the teams greatest draft class was their 2006 haul, when they collected Phil Kessel (5th overall), Milan Lucic (50th overall) and Brad Marchand (71st overall) in subsequent rounds. Boston also did very well landing Patrice Bergeron at 45th overall in 2003. Bergeron has gone on to win five Selke Trophies, as the league’s best defensive forward.

Holdouts: Phil Kessel’s 2009 holdout wasn’t allowed to extend too long, as he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs after both sides failed to reach any agreement on a new contract over the off-season. The haul for dealing Kessel was very good, made even better when the Maple Leafs performed poorly the next two seasons, resulting in Boston drafting Tyler Seguin (2nd overall in 2010), Jared Knight (32nd overall in 2010) and Dougie Hamilton (9th overall in 2011).

Buyouts: Boston’s most costly buyout was Dennis Seidenberg, who they were forced to pay $4,666,667, while Seidenberg plied his trade with the New York Islanders for a couple campaigns. Seidenberg was a prominent member of the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team and had been with the Bruins for seven seasons before being released in 2016. He retired in 2019.

Ray Bourque

Unique Game: The Bruins profile and success has resulted in the team playing many outdoor games, including the 2010, 2016, 2019 and 2023 Winter Classics versus the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. They also battled the Flyers  for one of the 2021 Outdoors at Lake Tahoe games. In 1956, Boston played exhibition games against local teams in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Goal: Bobby Orr scored many spectacular goals over his career, but none compare to his Stanley Cup-clinching tally in 1970. It’s perhaps best remembered for Orr soaring through the air after scoring the overtime marker, arms raised in triumph, while being tripped by St. Louis Blues defenseman Noel Picard. I mean, the play is actually known as The Goal in hockey lore. What else could go here?

Fight/Brawl: It was a wild night in 1979, when members of the Bruins ended up in the stands of Madison Square Garden, fighting with fans of the New York Rangers. The chaos started at the end of the game, when Stan Jonathan was assaulted by a fan. Jonathan’s Boston teammates came to his aid, with the highlight of the melee being Mike Milbury beating a fan with their own shoe. The NHL installed higher glass in arenas, as a result of the incident.

Injury: Cam Neely’s knee-on-knee collision with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuelsson in the 1991 playoffs, was the first of many knee issues, resulting in Neely only playing 22 games over the next couple seasons and being forced into retirement at the age of 31. Neely’s attempts to return to the game were recognized with him being awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance and dedication in 1994.

The Goal

Penalty: Billy Coutu, nicknamed Wild Beaver, was banned from the NHL for life in 1927, after assaulting referee Jerry Laflamme. The incident occurred after the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Ottawa Senators. Coutu’s ban would be lifted in 1929, allowing him to play minor league hockey. He would also be reinstated into the NHL for the 1932-33 season, but never played in the league again.

Wildest Story: In 1948, the NHL banned Bruins forward Don Gallinger and former teammate Billy Taylor (traded to the New York Rangers that season, when management questioned his poor play) for life, after it was discovered the pair had gambled on their own teams. Gallinger and Taylor were reinstated in 1970, marking the longest ever suspensions in league history.

Blooper: The most famous Too Many Men on the Ice penalty in NHL history occurred in Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup Semi-Finals. With Boston up 4-3 over the Montreal Canadiens and a berth in the Finals looming, the Bruins were penalized late in the game. Montreal scored on the power play and won the game in overtime. Boston coach Don Cherry (who played his only NHL game with the Bruins) was later fired for the gaffe.

Miscellaneous: When Willie O’Ree suited up for the Bruins on January 18, 1958, he broke hockey’s black colour barrier, becoming the “Jackie Robinson of ice hockey”. All this, despite suffering an eye injury years earlier, that should have ended his career had he not kept it hidden. O’Ree was named the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador in 1998 and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. His #22 jersey was retired by the Bruins in 2022.

Boston Bruins: Black and Gold

Black and Gold

  • 1.5 oz Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Top with Iced Tea
  • Garnish with Lemon Slices

There are numerous recipes with this name. I went with the one that interested me the most and was used by a Boston pizzeria in support of the Bruins. I couldn’t find exact measurements for the drink, so built it as I wanted to. Some ingredients could be altered for a different mix.

Arizona Coyotes – Coyote on the Rocks

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 venture to the hotbed of hockey that is Arizona. While checking out the Coyotes operation, we must be mindful of the franchise’s past in Winnipeg as the first incarnation of the Jets:

Establishment Story: On July 1, 1996, the Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes, moving their operations from the frozen tundra to the desert. The original plan was to relocate to Minneaplos-St. Paul, but the new owners couldn’t arrange an arena lease, so Phoenix became the destination. A fan vote was conducted to name the team, with Coyotes being the winner over Scorpions.

Stanley Cups: The Jets/Coyotes franchise has never appeared in a Stanley Cup Final (the oldest team to have not made the Finals), let alone won the championship. The deepest the team has ever gone in the playoffs was the Western Conference Finals in 2012. It should be noted, the Jets were extremely successful during their stint in the World Hockey Association (WHA), winning the Avco Cup three times during the league’s seven seasons of existence.

Celebrity Fan: The ‘Godfather of Shock Rock’ Alice Cooper has long been a fan of the Coyotes, being an Arizona native since he was a teenager. The team has even given away Alice Cooper bobbleheads as a fan promotion in 2012. Cooper can often be spotted at games or rocking the classic Kachina-style jersey. Goalie Mike Smith even had Cooper painted on the back of his helmet in 2015.

Alice Cooper

Super Fan: Any supporter of the Coyotes has to be considered a super fan, no? Seriously, though, Leighton Accardo was a 9-year-old Coyotes supporter who sadly lost her 18-month battle with cancer in late 2020. Prior to passing, Accardo played youth hockey in the Arizona Kachinas program and was signed to a one-day contract by the Coyotes. On that night, rather than drop the puck for the ceremonial face-off, the youngster actually took the draw.

Mascot: Howler the Coyote (full name Canis Howlus Maximus) debuted in 2005. He wears jersey number 96, representing the year the team arrived in Arizona. Also, rather than have a captain’s ‘C’ on his jersey, Howler has the letter ‘M’ for mascot. Howler is best known for being a great drummer, joining area bands during Coyotes Foundation charity events.

Tradition: The White Out began as a Jets ritual, but carried over to Phoenix when the franchise relocated. It began in 1987 to counter the Calgary Flames ‘C of Red’, as the Jets were facing the Flames in the playoffs that season. Winnipeg swept the series and fans hoped the White Out would continue to bring good luck. In Arizona, lyrics to the Wang Chung song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” have been altered to “Everybody wear white tonight” in marketing campaigns.

Appearances in Media: There are a couple documentaries feature footage of the original Jets. This includes Sel8nne, about the career of Teemu Selanne, and Death by Popcorn: The Tragedy of the Winnipeg Jets, covering the rise and fall of that franchise. The title comes from an incident in the 1990 playoffs, when the Jets were on the verge of finally defeating the Edmonton Oilers, until a fan threw popcorn on the ice, causing a long delay and changing the momentum of the game and series in the Oilers favour.


Events/Scandals: When the Coyotes selected Mitchell Miller in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, they didn’t realize the firestorm they were about to set off. According to a report weeks later in The Arizona Republic, Miller had been found guilty in 2016 of repeatedly bullying a developmentally disabled African American classmate. The Coyotes renounced the draft pick as a result.

Rivalry: Aside from brief flirtations with rivalries, the Coyotes greatest battle seems to be against financial stability. For a time, the Coyotes most hated opponents were the Los Angeles Kings, based on their heated 2012 Western Conference Final series. When the franchise was based in Winnipeg, perennial Smythe Division leaders the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames provided the team with many great clashes.

Tragedy: While playing with the Tucson Roadrunners (the Coyotes minor league affiliate), captain Craig Cunningham suffered a cardiac arrest prior to puck drop on November 19, 2016. It took 83 minutes of CPR to keep Cunningham alive. Due to the incident, Cunningham’s lower left leg had to be amputated because of an infection that followed circulation issues. No longer able to play, Cunningham was offered a pro scout position with the Coyotes.

Player Nicknames: The Coyotes greatest legacy on the game of hockey may be some of the nicknames the team has been responsible for over the Arizona/Winnipeg existence. Some include Finnish Flash (Teemu Selanne), Bulin Wall (goalie Nikolai Khabibulin) and BizNasty (Paul Bissonnette). A few others to be considered include Ducky (Dale Hawerchuk), Rhino (Zac Rinaldo), Goose (Alex Goligoski) and Stinky (Christian Fischer).

Arizona Coyotes

Line: When superstar Bobby Hull was joined by European imports Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson to form the Hot Line, the unit dominated the WHA. They played together for four seasons, winning two Avco Cups, before both Hedberg and Nilsson joined the NHL’s New York Rangers. Perhaps the greatest compliment of the trio came from Edmonton Oilers GM Glen Sather, who said he used the Hot Line as a template for building his 1980s dynasty teams.

Captain: Shane Doan spent his entire career as a member of the Coyotes. For 13 of those 21 seasons, he served as the team’s captain. At the time Doan retired in 2017, he was the longest-serving captain in the NHL, providing the Coyotes franchise with some semblance of stability amongst all their other issues. Doan’s jersey was retired by the team in 2019. He recorded 402 goals and 972 points over 1,540 games with the club, all franchise records.

Enforcer: Kris King’s tenure with the franchise spanned both the Winnipeg and Phoenix incarnations of the team. Originally brought in to provide protection for the likes of Teemu Selanne and Keith Tkachuk, the ‘King of Pain’ recorded 762 penalty minutes and 71 fighting majors over his five seasons with the club. King was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1996, given to an NHL player who has made significant contributions to their community.

Family Values: From 1993 to 1996, brothers Darryl and Darrin Shannon played together for the Jets. Coyote lifer Shane Doan had the pleasure of being part of the team’s draft table when they selected his son, Josh Doan, 37th overall in 2021. Josh was born and raised in Arizona, as his father played two decades with the franchise. Brothers Philip and Henrik Samuelsson were members of the organization at the same time, while dad Ulf was a former assistant coach.

Shane Doan

Returning Players: Radim Vrbata had three tenures with the Coyotes. He first played for the club for the 2007-08 season. He split the next campaign between the Tampa Bay Lightning and two teams in the Czech Extraliga, before returning to the Coyotes for five seasons. After a two-year stint with the Vancouver Canucks, Vrbata once again called Arizona home for a year. He finished his career with the Florida Panthers, retiring in 2018.

Short Stint: Coming out of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, legendary scorer Brett Hull joined the Coyotes. His dad’s #9 jersey (retired when the team was in Winnipeg) was unretired, allowing him to wear it. However, just five games into the season, Hull believed he could no longer play at the level he expected of himself and abruptly retired. He had recorded only one assist in those contests.

Undrafted: Winger Doug Smail signed with the Jets in 1980, following three years at the University of North Dakota. He remained with the team for 11 seasons and holds a couple interesting records, including the franchise mark for shorthanded goals (25), while sharing the NHL record with three others for fastest goal to start a game (five seconds). He was also the first player to ever join the U.K.’s Elite Ice Hockey League directly from the NHL.

Trade: It was tough to lose the face of their franchise, but at the 1990 NHL Draft, the Jets granted Dale Hawerchuk’s trade request, sending him to the Buffalo Sabres with a first-round draft choice. In return, the Jets received all-star defenseman Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first-round pick, used to select future star Keith Tkachuk. Another good move was acquiring Jeremy Roenick from the Chicago Blackhawks in 1996 for a package of assets. Roenick was a splashy move for the team’s Phoenix debut.

Brett Hull

Signing: When Mike Smith joined the Coyotes in 2011 on a very reasonable two-year, $4 million deal, he instantly legitimized the team’s goaltending. With Smith in net, the franchise won its first playoff series since 1987 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time ever. Smith’s success also came on offense, as he scored a rare goalie goal on October 19, 2013.

Draft Pick: Despite a long history of poor performances, the Coyotes have never held a draft pick better than third overall. The Jets selected first overall once, in 1981, taking future Hall of Fame member Dale Hawerchuk. Perhaps the franchise’s greatest pick of all-time was Teemu Selanne (10th overall in 1988), while their diamond in the rough find would be Nikolai Khabibulin (204th overall in 1992).

Holdouts: Nikolai Khabibulin’s contract impasse with the Coyotes, following the 1998-99 season, resulted in the goalie missing almost two full years of NHL action. Khabibulin would finally be traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 5, 2001, suiting up for the team twice before the end of the year. The move worked out well for Khabibulin, as the Lightning won the 2004 Stanley Cup, with him in the crease.

Buyouts: Mike Ribeiro’s time with the Coyotes was brief. Coming off a season where he scored a point per game with the Washington Capitals, Ribeiro signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Coyotes in 2013. Following a single season, Ribeiro was bought out due to behavioural issues, related to alcohol use. Arizona paid Ribeiro $11,666,667 to not play for them, while the forward signed on with the Nashville Predators.

Mike Smith

Unique Game: For a 2006 pre-season game, the Coyotes returned to where it all began, playing the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, 10 years after the Jets relocation to Phoenix. The Coyotes also opened the 2010 season with a pair of contests against the Boston Bruins in Prague, Czechia. Finally, there has been talk of the Coyotes playing an outdoor game in Mexico, which would be the first time NHL action has ever taken place in the country.

Goal: On March 2, 1993, Teemu Selanne surpassed Mike Bossy’s rookie scoring record of 53, with a goal against the Quebec Nordiques. The tally was made even more memorable thanks to Selanne’s celebration of throwing his glove into the air and using his stick as a gun to shoot it down. Selanne would finish the season with an incredible 76 goals and 132 points (also a NHL record), en route to being named the NHL’s top rookie, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Fight/Brawl: An October 11, 1985 bench clearing brawl between the Jets and Calgary Flames is memorable for a couple reasons. The second period skirmish resulted in six game ejections, including Jets assistant coach Rick Bowness, who took a swipe at Flames enforcer Tim Hunter, the player thought to ignite the melee. Also ejected was Flames backup goalie Mark D’Amour, who was dressing in his first NHL game.

Injury: Coyotes star Clayton Keller had his 2021-22 season ended early when he crashed into the boards, fracturing his leg. A stretcher was needed to remove Keller from the ice, followed by surgery. Another notable injury was Jeremy Roenick having his jaw broken in 1999 by Derian Hatcher of the Dallas Stars. The blatant elbow was retribution for Roenick hitting Dallas superstar Mike Modano in the teams previous encounter. Hatcher was suspended seven games for the incident.

Teemu Selanne

Penalty: Jets tough guy Jimmy Mann was coming off a three-game suspension a month earlier for pushing a linesman, when on January 13, 1982, he left the bench and sucker punched Paul Gardner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, breaking his jaw. The attack was in retaliation for Gardner injuring a teammate just prior. For this offense, Mann was suspended for 10 games, along with being charged with assault causing bodily harm in Manitoba court. Mann pled guilty, receiving a maximum $500 fine.

Wildest Story: On December 8, 2021, it was announced the Coyotes owed $1.3 million in back taxes and they would be locked out of the Gila River Arena if the money was not paid by December 20, 2021. This was the last straw in their lease agreement with the City of Glendale and the Coyotes were forced to find a new home for the 2022-23 season, eventually coming to terms with Arizona State University to play out of their 5,000 seat Mullett Arena.

Blooper: Mike Smith was one of the best goalies in franchise history, but he is also remembered for one of the most bizarre own goals fans have ever seen. During a December 2013 game against the Buffalo Sabres, the puck launched into the air, coming down and getting stuck in the back of Smith’s gear. Smith, losing sight of the puck, backed into his own net. The tally is known today as the ‘Butt Goal’ and worst of all, it occurred in overtime, giving the Sabres the win.

Miscellaneous: During the 2003-04 season, netminder Brian Boucher recorded five consecutive shutouts, with a shutout streak of 332:01, setting modern day NHL records for both stats. The previous records belonged to Gary Durnan, who earned four consecutive shutouts and a streak of 309:21 playing for the Montreal Canadiens in 1949. The all-time records date back to the 1927-28 season, when Ottawa Senators goalie Alec Connell had six consecutive shutouts and a streak of 460:49.

Arizona Coyotes: Coyote on the Rocks

Coyote on the Rocks

  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Grapefruit Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This beverage is similar to a Paloma, which is among the Sip Advisor’s favourite cocktails. Some differences include the addition of grenadine and no salt for the drink’s rim. I like the double entendre this recipe conjures, as you can imagine a coyote resting on rocks or it could just be the ice filling your glass.

Anaheim Ducks – Triple Deke

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 begin this trek with a look at the Anaheim Ducks. Let’s just see how mighty they are:

Establishment Story: The Ducks joined the NHL in 1993 as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The expansion team was born from the 1992 Walt Disney Company movie The Mighty Ducks, as Disney looked to expand into the sports ownership world. As of 2005, Disney is no longer behind the franchise and the team has dropped the ‘Mighty’ portion of their moniker, simply going as the Anaheim Ducks.

Stanley Cups: The Ducks lone Stanley Cup came in 2007, when they defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals one other time, losing to the New Jersey Devils in seven games, ending their 2003 Cinderella post-season run. Despite being the Stanley Cup runner up, Ducks goalie Jean-Sébastien Giguère was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.

Celebrity Fan: Emilio Estevez, star of The Mighty Ducks movie franchise as coach Gordon Bombay, is a fan of the team his movies are responsible for. Estevez often makes appearances in the Anaheim crowd when the team is in important situations, such as the Stanley Cup Finals. From time to time, Estevez also supports the team on his social media accounts.

Emilio Estevez

Super Fan: Given the Ducks beginnings as a popular movie franchise and its Disney connection, fans of the team stretch far and wide. Season ticket members of the club are known as the Orange Alliance. Among the diehards is Ned Marr, who can be easily recognized for his face and head paint (he’s bald after all), which he first donned during the 2013 playoffs. His popularity even led to appearing in a Papa John’s commercial.

Mascot: Wild Wing made his debut with the rest of the team in 1993. His name was picked through a fan vote and he wears the number 93, referencing the franchise’s founding year. In a case of fiction-inspiring-reality-inspiring-fiction, the character of Wildwing Flashblade from the Mighty Ducks cartoon series is based on Wild Wing the mascot. The Ducks very first game featured a secondary mascot, nicknamed The Iceman, but the electric guitar-playing hype man disappeared soon after.

Tradition: Through all incarnations of the Anaheim franchise, Fowl Towels have been a popular fan item, with folks at games waving the towels to cheer on the squad. The towels were originally white, but are now orange, matching the team’s home jerseys throughout the years. Some Ducks supporters also use duck call devices to root on the club.

Appearances in Media: The team’s logo and jerseys appeared in the aforementioned Mighty Ducks movie franchise, as well as its spinoff cartoon series. The reboot TV series Mighty Ducks: Game Changers has included cameos from current Ducks players, such as Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry and Max Jones. Lastly, in the first season of TV show Boy Meets World (a Disney production coinciding with the Ducks inaugural season), main character Cory Matthews wears a Mighty Ducks jersey.

Mighty Ducks

Events/Scandals: Bob Murray’s run as the Ducks GM both began and ended abruptly. He took over the role in November 2008, when previous GM Brian Burke suddenly joined the Toronto Maple Leafs. Murray’s term ended almost exactly 13 years later, when he resigned while under investigation by the team for an alleged history of verbal abuse to players and other staff members.

Rivalry: Fellow California-based teams, the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, are natural rivals to the Ducks. Anaheim’s feud with Los Angeles is dubbed the Freeway Face-Off. Despite the animosity between the teams and fan bases, the two squads have only met in the playoffs once, with the Kings winning the 2014 series in seven games. The teams have also faced each other for the 2007 NHL Premiere from London and the 2014 Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium.

Tragedy: There are no direct tragedies associated with the Ducks, but fan favourite Ruslan Salei, who played in Anaheim for nine seasons, was among the 44 killed in the September 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team plane crash. The Belarussian was drafted by the Ducks ninth overall in 1996 and once held the franchise record for games played by a defenceman. Salei’s popularity led to the Honda Center, Anaheim’s home arena, being nicknamed ‘The House that Rusty Built’.

Player Nicknames: Corey Perry’s style of play has earned him two nicknames, one on each end of the spectrum. The first, Scorey Perry, was earned for his scoring prowess, including the career-high 50 he potted in 2010-11, earning him the Rocket Richard and Hart Memorial Trophies. The second, The Worm, comes from Perry’s knack of irritating his opponents.

Corey Perry

Line: Speaking of Corey Perry, his long-time partnership with Ryan Getzlaf led to a lot of success for the Ducks. The duo played together with Dustin Penner as the Kid Line/PPG Line and with Bobby Ryan as the RPG Line. Another very successful pair for the team was Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. Their most notable third linemate was Steve Rucchin, a rare player to come to the NHL from the Canadian Interuniversity Sport route.

Captain: Ryan Getzlaf played his entire 17-season career with the Ducks, serving as captain from 2010 until his retirement in 2022. He holds the franchise record for most games played (1,157), points (1,019) and assists (737). Getzlaf was twice nominated for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, but failed to win the trophy. In retirement, Getzlaf is still an active member in the Anaheim community.

Enforcer: While I’d love to put the Bash Brothers (Fulton Reed and Dean Portman) here, from D2: The Mighty Ducks, the honour has to go to Todd Ewen, who holds the franchise records for penalty minutes in a season (285) and in a period (37). Sadly, Ewen commited suicide in 2015, aged 49. He had been suffering from depression for years, with chronic traumatic encephalopathy from his years as a fighter perhaps contributing to his death.

Family Values: Brothers Scott and Rob Niedermayer not only got to play together on the Ducks for four seasons, they got to share winning a Stanley Cup together. It was Scott’s fourth championship – following three with the New Jersey Devils – and Rob’s first. Scott was the team’s captain, while Rob was an alternate. After Scott finished his lap around the ice with the trophy, he passed it to Rob, which Scott described as a highlight of his career.

Ryan Getzlaf

Returning Players: Defenseman Francois Beauchemin had three stints with the Ducks. He was first traded to Anaheim in 2005, being part of the 2007 championship squad. Beauchemin joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2009, but was traded back to Anaheim in 2011. His final tenure with the team was for the 2017-18 season, which he announced would be his final campaign, retiring as a Duck.

Short Stint: Dany Heatley’s NHL career wrapped up with six games as a member of the Ducks during the 2014-15 season. While playing for the Ducks minor league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, Heatley was traded to the Florida Panthers organization, but didn’t get into any games with them, instead playing for their minor league team, the San Antonio Rampage. Heatley then retired from hockey after a season in Germany.

Undrafted: Chris Kunitz was signed by Anaheim as an undrafted free agent in 2003, following being named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA men’s hockey player. He was actually lost to the Atlanta Thrashers on waivers in 2005, but reclaimed weeks later by the Ducks. Kunitz would go on to be a member of the 2007 Stanley Cup championship team.

Trade: Acquiring superstar Teemu Selanne and pairing him with Paul Kariya was one of the greatest moves in Ducks history. To nab Selanne, the team had to part with two former first round picks in Oleg Tverdovsky and Chad Kilger, but it was certainly worth it. Selanne would return to the club later in his career and be part of the franchise’s only Stanley Cup victory. Selanne holds many of the Ducks offensive records, including regular season goals, power-play goals and game-winning goals.

Teemu Selanne

Signing: The signings of Scott Neidermayer and Teemu Selanne (returning to the club) following the 2004-05 NHL lockout, would eventually lead to winning the 2007 Stanley Cup. On the flip side, the signing of Todd Bertuzzi in 2007 to a two-year, $8 million deal was eventually bought out after one season, as the Ducks had players like Corey Perry they needed to resign and were tight against the salary cap.

Draft Pick: The Ducks first ever player selection, Paul Kariya at 4th overall in 1993, was a very good one. Kariya became the face of the franchise for its first decade of existence, with his jersey number retired by the team in 2018. The 2003 draft also yielded great results, with Ryan Getzlaf (19th overall) and Corey Perry (28th overall) being chosen. The pair were integral to the Ducks 2007 Stanley Cup win.

Holdouts: When Paul Kariya’s first NHL contract expired in 1997, he and the Ducks failed to agree on a new pact. This led to Kariya missing the first 32 games of the 1997-98 campaign, prior to inking a two-year, $14 million deal. The holdout meant Kariya, a Japanese Canadian, was absent from the lineup as the Ducks and Vancouver Canucks played a pair of games in Tokyo to open the season.

Buyouts: It came as a bit of a shock when Corey Perry was bought out by the Ducks in 2019. Sure, his production had dropped in recent times, but he’d been with the franchise for 14 years. Another interesting case was that of defenseman Simon Després, who was let loose in 2017, with four years remaining on his contract, due to concerns over his concussion history.

Paul Kariya

Unique Game: Aside from the above-mentioned games against Los Angeles (2007 NHL Premiere from London and 2014 Stadium Series) and the Ducks travelling to Japan to open the 1997-98 season against Vancouver, the team has also played in destinations such as and Finland and Sweden (versus the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, respectively), for the 2011 NHL Premiere. Their contests in Tokyo were the first NHL games outside of North America that counted in the league standings.

Goal: Trevor Zegras is known for his high skill level and many highlight real goals. These include his lacrosse-style tally and batting out of the air a Sonny Milano alley-oop pass made over the net from behind it. Zegras’ flair for goal scoring led to him being invited to the 2022 NHL All-Star Game as a special guest to compete in the Breakaway Challenge. He was also made the cover athlete for the NHL 23 video game.

Fight/Brawl: A rather ordinary December 2001 game between the Ducks and the Calgary Flames took a turn late in the third period, when the teams took turns taking runs at each other’s goalies. The result was the last minute and a half featured constant fights off of each faceoff. By the end of the game, only one substitute player remained on each bench, with 309 penalty minutes recorded. A number of players were suspended or fined in the aftermath.

Injury: During the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, Devils defenceman Scott Stevens caught Paul Kariya with a crushing open ice hit that knocked the Ducks superstar out cold. In the days before concussion protocols, Kariya would return to the game just minutes later and even score a goal. Sadly, in 2011, Kariya would be forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome and many point to this hit as one that contributed to Kariya’s issues.

Trevor Zegras

Penalty: During a March 2008 game against the Vancouver Canucks, Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger stomped on Ryan Kesler’s leg after the two had become tangled up. While the NHL originally let the incident pass unpunished, further video evidence resulted in an eight-game suspension for Pronger. Although Kesler wasn’t injured on the play, many thought the punishment was light, compared to Chris Simon’s 30-game suspension for a similar incident earlier that season.

Wildest Story: In the summer following Anaheim’s Stanley Cup triumph, Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe signed emerging forward Dustin Penner to a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet. Ducks GM Brian Burke responded in the only way a responsible GM should, publically criticizing and name calling his counterpart. This led to the challenge of a barn fight, where a Lake Placid venue was even chosen, before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stepped in and made sure the bout didn’t happen.

Blooper: Mascots can sometimes be put in dangerous situations, all in the name of getting fans riled up. For the Ducks 1995 home opener pre-game show, Wild Wing was to leap over a wall of fire. While rehearsal apparently went smoothly, when it came time to perform the act live, the mascot fell directly onto the flames. Thankfully, Wild Wing wasn’t harmed in any way and was back to interacting with fans quickly.

Miscellaneous: In the early years of the franchise, Mighty Ducks merchandise sold more than all other NHL teams combined. This was assisted by items being sold at Disney theme parks and in Disney Stores. With Disney World being located in Florida, it’s likely Mighty Ducks items sold better there than their expansion cousin Florida Panthers could ever have imagined for themselves.

Anaheim Ducks: Triple Deke

Triple Deke

  • Muddled Cuccumber
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Watermelon Liqueur
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

This cocktail is an homage to The Mighty Ducks movies, particularly the first film, when the triple deke move is used throughout. The recipe called for Watermelon Syrup to be used, but I elected to add some Watermelon Liqueur to the mix.