Stick and Puck
Today, we begin our 52-week tour around the world. Our first stop is the Sip Advisor’s homeland of Canada. The country’s greatest export (other than myself and Crown Royal) is the sport of hockey. It is our national pastime and just simply what we do best. With that in mind, here are some of the wackiest tales from the ice!
Fighting in hockey is completely accepted… in fact, it’s expected. But even this battle of fisticuffs surprised most fans. On Apr. 7, 1997, with the regular season winding down, the Hartford Whalers faced the Buffalo Sabres. As a scrum ensued in front of Hartford goalie Sean Burke, teammate Keith Primeau grabbed the primary culprit and ended up dropping the gloves with his own brother Wayne. Afterwards, legend has it that both siblings called their mother to apologize for the melee!
One of the craziest moments in hockey history occurred on Dec. 23, 1979 during a Boston Bruins-New York Rangers tilt in the Big Apple. During a player scrum at the end of the game, a fan managed to cut Bruins player Stan Jonathan’s face with a rolled up program, as well as take his stick. This caused Jonathan’s teammates Terry O’Reilly and Peter McNab to venture over the Plexiglas and into the stands to apprehend the fan. The brawl’s highlight featured future NHL coach, general manager, and broadcaster, Mike Milbury, beating the guilty fan with his own shoe. O’Reilly, McNab, and Milbury were all suspended and fined, while the fan was sentenced to six months in jail.
Wishing for a Mulligan
When a player is streaking in on an empty net, most fans would conclude that the goal is a gimme. But there are two notable exceptions to the rule. One saw Nashville Predators rookie Craig Smith flying into the opponent’s zone all alone, only to fire the puck over the net and out of play, even while others assumed he had scored. The more infamous incident occurred when former first overall draft choice Patrik Stefan lost control of the puck while hot dogging and was forced to watch in horror as the Edmonton Oilers went the other way to tie the game with seconds left.
During a Jan. 26, 2001 contest between the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche, forward Steve Sullivan was struck with a high stick and injured, requiring stitches. He was promptly heckled by a fan, but as the old saying goes: “Karma is a bitch!” Later on in the evening, the puck ended up leaving the playing surface and hitting the same fan who had jeered Sullivan earlier. Sullivan took this opportunity to chirp the fan back… oh, and he also scored two short-handed goals after re-emerging from the trainer’s room.
The referees never get the call right. This is universally accepted. On one trip to the penalty box, however, a frustrated Doug Gilmour took his anger out on the poor door, slamming and destroying it. With shards of glass everywhere, Gilmour looked a little sheepish still sitting in the box and was perhaps a little surprised at his own strength. If you ever wondered why they nicknamed Gilmour “Killer”, you might have your answer here!
Had this game been played around Halloween, things would have been all the more spookier. Throughout most of the contest, a bat was spotted flying around the arena, even coming down to the ice surface and buzzing by players heads. Finally, Buffalo’s Jim Lorentz knocked it out of the air with his stick, before it was carried off the ice. Moments later, fog encompassed the ice surface making it difficult for play to resume. I guess Dracula was pissed and trying to extract his revenge on the guilty parties.
The Most Dangerous Job
Mascots are a very polarizing topic. Some people love them, while others loathe them. I get their appeal to young kids, but I’m personally not a fan… and neither is Terry O’Reilly, it would seem. Yes, this is the same Terry O’Reilly who went into the New York stands in the brawl listed above. On this fateful night, California Golden Seals mascot Krazy George was working his mojo and taunting the Boston Bruins by beating away at a drum. This apparently was enough to set off the man known as “Bloody O’Reilly” and the “Tasmanian Devil”, as he proceeded to jab George with his stick and chase him away from the penalty box.
Canada: Black Tooth Grin
- 1 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
- 1 oz Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey
- Splash of Cola
- Garnish with Gum and Strawberry Syrup
So much fighting in hockey… brother vs. brother, players vs. fans, players vs. mascots… that’s why we love the game so much! Do you have a wacky hockey moment you expected to see on this list? Drop the gloves with the Sip Advisor and leave a message!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
What can I say about Crown Royal Whiskey that hasn’t already been said… it’s a freakin’ Canadian institution and one of my favourite spirits of all time. This drink was actually created by late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, but I thought it also fit the bill for an article about hockey players, given their many unfortunate examples of dental damage! It was a good cocktail, with which I subbed in Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey (another Canadian product) for Seagram’s 7 Whiskey. Then I used pieces of Gum and drips of Strawberry Syrup to portray some of that aforementioned dental damage!