Sip Trips #115: New Beginnings

(This article was meant to be posted on September 22, but things became a little hectic for Mrs. Sip and I… read to the end of this post to learn why!)

Well, after a relatively quiet weekend prior, the busy came back with a vengeance last week and into the most recent break from work. Here’s the latest Sip Advisor activity, for your viewing pleasure:

Last Tuesday, we attended the Gentlemen Hecklers show at the Rio Theatre. Prior to the guys’ skewering of the 1996 classic Anaconda, we ended up at the Storm Crow Tavern for a bite to eat. The place is a nerd haven, with round the clock sci-fi and fantasy shows on their TV screens, a mammoth collection of board and card games to play, and one of the most creative menus I have ever come across. You can order a number of items, including burgers and shots, based on rolling the 20-sided dice that role playing fans will be familiar with. As for our meal, we split a round of Teenage Mutant Deep Fried Pickles, with my main being their Klingon Chicken Strips of Prey (with fries), paired with a pint of Red Truck Brew of Cthulhu Lager. We will definitely be back soon. As for our show, it was very funny, and a great reminder of just how bad of a movie Anaconda was. I think I mean bad in a good way, though, as it’s the perfect film to be lampooned by the trio of comedians.

20-Sided Dice.jpg

The rest of the week was used to rest and relax, as the weekend featured a close friend’s stag and what was sure to be a wild day out. We began with paintball at Panther Paintball in Langley. I’m not the biggest paintball fan, but this outdoor location was fun and provided a good starting activity for our group. The poor bachelor had to run through a gauntlet of his friends firing shots at him, but took it like a champion. Hopefully his wounds heal quickly.

Next up was a Vancouver Whitecaps game, where we would be enjoying the luxury of a stadium suite. This was not cheap and when food and drink orders were accounted for the bill was quite high. Our order included the equivalent of a case of beer, bottles of Crown Royal Whiskey and Smirnoff Vodka, trays of chicken wings, dry ribs and hotdogs, potato chips and popcorn, and even a plate of veggies. While the alcohol was all consumed, we handed out what remaining food there was to some needy street folk, doing our civic duty.

Following the game, we journeyed to the Irish Heather for more boozing. I started with their Black and Tan beer cocktail, which combined Guinness and Russell Brewing’s Peaks and Valleys Extra Pale Ale. I also enjoyed a pint of Russell Punch Bowl IPA and joined some of the guys for a round of Japanese whiskey, which was smooth and delicious.

Whiskey Age

The next day, we were off to watch the Vancouver Canucks vs. Vegas Golden Knights in preseason action. I’ve followed the new Vegas franchise since its inception and upon learning their first ever contest would be against my Vancouver Canucks, I knew I had to be at the game. Mrs. Sip translated this desire into getting me and her half-season tickets… I like her thinking. As for the game, the Canucks got torched pretty bad 9-4.

On Tuesday, we attended a free screening of the second season premiere of Kim’s Convenience at the Vogue Theatre. For those unfamiliar with the show, it is centered on a Korean family who own and operate a convenience store in Toronto. The show is hilarious and the event included appearances from the main cast members, as well as airing the first two episodes of season two. The price was certainly right.

This past weekend was to be another busy one, as we had plans to celebrate the Sip Advisor’s 34th birthday in style. On the docket were trips to the VIP Theatre, a Caskival at Yaletown Brewing, another Vancouver Whitecaps game with the guys, and family dinners at EXP and White Spot. Fate intervened however, when Mrs. Sip went into labour on my birthday (September 22) with our daughter, Leela Audrey Giselle Wilson arriving early the next morning! We are thrilled she is finally here and both baby and mom and doing very well!

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Sip Trips #96: Much to Celebrate

The week that was started with Ma and Pa Sip joining me for dinner at Dunn’s Restaurant in Vancouver. This deli-style restaurant has been a favourite of the family for some time and this visit was no different. I paired my Classic Club with a pint of R&B Brewing’s Raven’s Cream Ale, which made for a solid combination. Ma Sip went with the tasty Fried Chicken Poutine, while Pa Sip enjoyed a Grilled Cheese with Onion Rings. All told, the meal was very good and we will return soon.

On Saturday, we had plans to celebrate Father-in-Law Sip’s birthday, but also met with a friend at the One20 Public House in Delta, for a drink. There, I ordered pints of Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale and Four Winds Apparition West Coast White Ale. I was impressed with the pub’s extensive craft beer selection and look forward to future visits.

One20 Public House

Following that stop, we were off to the nearby Greek Village Restaurant, where souvlaki, saganaki and spanakopita were gorged on by our group. We have never had a bad experience at this eatery and it has become a regular destination for the Sip Advisor’s in-laws, as they renovate their home. The feast made Mrs. Sip and I really look forward to our cruise ports in Greece this May.

On Monday, Mrs. Sip and I hit the VIP Theatre at Marine Gateway, as we had passes that needed to be used. As we watched Logan (an awesome movie, by the way), I scarfed down a Chipotle Chicken Club Wrap and tried their Cherry Collins cocktail. While I’ll always argue that I make better Tom Collins drinks than most bars out there, this was a decent version and I liked the cherry infusion. The food was also very good. I’ve tried something different from the menu every time I’ve been to the VIP Theatre and I’ve never been disappointed yet.

For Tuesday night, Pa Sip was given a pair of Vancouver Canucks tickets and I was the lucky recipient of the extra pass. Prior to the game, we dined at Back Forty, located right across from BC Place’s Terry Fox Plaza. Accompanied by a couple beverages, I tried the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Po’Boy, which was very flavourful and spicy, thanks to the Sriracha and mustard. The service from staff was very quick and attentive, especially with drink orders.

Back Forty

To wrap up the week, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our 15th dating anniversary. I still can’t believe we’ve been together so long and how far we’ve come from the 18-year-olds we were when our journey first started. For the occasion, we picked up a Groupon for Blue Martini Jazz Café, which provided us each with a three-course meal and live entertainment from the Ray Ayotte Impromptu band.

Our meals consisted of meatballs, jambalaya and cheesecake for me, while Mrs. Sip went with a prosciutto and bocconcini bruschetta, salmon topped with shrimp and crab, and crème brulee. For drinks, I tried their Moscow Mule happy hour special and downed a pint of 33 Acres of Ocean with dinner.

I’m was very happy with where we ended up, but we were both amazed at how little there was to do around Vancouver on this Thursday night. While the rest of the week was littered with various events, there didn’t seem to be much going on this particular evening. That did push us to try this new experience, though, so it was all for the best!

Sip Trips #60: Tapped Out

It seemed the theme of the last week for the Sip Alliance was being told a beer we wanted was out. A sadder set of circumstances, I have not come across yet in this life!

Looking for a place to eat last Thursday before our Urban Rec sports and with a couple gift cards to shed, we ended up at The Shark Club in Richmond. Already not thrilled with the beers on tap, my first two orders – Granville Island Winter Ale and Red Truck Amber Ale – were both unavailable. This left me with only one remaining option, Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. I’m sure this will all resurface one day as a PTSD scenario… the time I almost had to settle for Budweiser!

Budweiser Sucks

I will say, that my chicken tenders and fries were very good and I think Mrs. Sip and the rest of our party enjoyed their nachos, but even with that order, they were asked to substitute their original choice of spicy ground beef with chicken. We were never really informed why, but with little options, they just rolled with it. While our server was very friendly and you can’t blame her for the beers being out, service was incredibly slow and the place seemed understaffed.

Our next outing was to EXP Restaurant + Bar in downtown Vancouver. Here, they did have both of the beers I wanted to order, which was quite refreshing. Deciding on what to eat was much more difficult, as the menu here has so many intriguing dishes, each themed around video games. Rather than try something new, I went with a favourite, the Classic Cheese Burger of Experience and was not left disappointed. Other items ordered at our table, included the Attack On Taco, Assassin’s Cheese Fries and Traditional Poutine, all of which looked and tasted great.

The following day, we decided to check out The Social Corner, which recently opened right across the street from my and Mrs. Sip’s building. I ordered their mushroom burger (which I was lucky to see a server bring out to another table, as it wasn’t even on their menu), while the ladies at our table shared a couple of the restaurant’s pizzas. The Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale I paired with my meal really hit the spot and they must get that burger onto their menu.

Weekend Restaurant

Prior to Monday’s Vancouver Canucks game versus the Winnipeg Jets (which we had tickets to), we ended up at Central City’s Brew Pub, close to Rogers Arena. Here, we were continually denied the beer of our choice. I get it that kegs run out and need to be changed over, but when you have to choose another beer a half dozen times, it becomes a little tiring. The beers we did end up having were pretty good, highlighted for myself by Central City’s Scotch Ale, which I was pleasantly surprised had a smoky finish to it.

Speaking of the Canucks game, I was hoping for a better collection of craft beers at the stadium than we were able to locate. The adjacent BC Place (home of the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions and the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer) has worked hard to up their craft beer content and I figured – or at least hoped – Rogers Arena would do the same. Alas, it was not meant to be and the night was spent sipping on expensive Shocktop, while watching our beloved ‘Nucks put up a stinker.

Here’s hoping future Sip Trips aren’t as marred with unavailable menu items!

April 11 – Penalty Shot

Line Dancing

As hockey fans around the world gear up for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sip Advisor thought it might be a good time to look at some of the sport’s greatest line combos. This list was narrowed down by taking into account the success of the line, as well as how awesome the name they were given was. Let’s get the puck rolling:

#5: West Coast Express – Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi

After a string of dismal years, Vancouver Canucks fans finally had something to cheer about again, when this line began filling the back of the net and piling up points. Once put together, each enjoyed the best years of their career, with Naslund and Bertuzzi even finishing second and third in league scoring during the 2002-03 season. Sadly, a long-awaited Stanley Cup never materialized, thanks in part to Bertuzzi’s indefinite suspension, after punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the back of the head. The West Coast Express is actually a commuter train line in the Sip Advisor’s home area, connecting people living in the suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown core.

West Coast Express Canucks

#4: Capital Punishment Line – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley

Playing in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Senators enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise on the backs of Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. The trio took the Senators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games. The three stars were also given the nickname ‘The Pizza Line’ thanks to the Pizza Pizza chain offering to give away free slices to ticket holders, anytime the Senators scored at least five goals. With the line racking up points that season, it happened often. Ironically, Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976… I guess this threesome never got the news!

#3: Legion of Doom – Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mikael Renberg

For a time, Lindros was the most dominant player in the game, utilizing his size, strength, and natural talent. Flanking him on the wings were Leclair and Renberg, who each enjoyed great seasons playing with ‘The Big E’. The line combined for 305 goals and 361 assists over three season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997. The line’s name was created (or at least borrowed) by teammate Jim Montgomery, before being used and promoted by Flyers announcer Gene Hart. While they weren’t as successful as the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, the Legion of Doom ushered in a new generation of Flyers dominance.

legion-of-doom-flyers

#2: Red Army – Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov

As if three forwards weren’t enough, imagine icing an entire five-man unit that could cohesively work together and dominate the opposition. All hailing from Russia and formerly starring for that country’s national team, the Red Army had been built by Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, who had always admired the USSR’s playing style. The gamble worked out well for Detroit, as the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeated the feat in 1998. Sadly, Konstantinov was not part of the second championship, as just days after the 1997 win, he was involved in a serious auto wreck, which ended his career. The only thing missing was a Russian goaltender to complete the on-ice sweep.

#1: Trio Grande – Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies

When New York Islanders coach Al Arbour combined these three young, highly-touted players in 1977, it’s what would eventually push them over the edge and produce a four-year Stanley Cup dynasty. The line combined for 668 goals and 1498 points, throughout the years, piling up trophies, team records, and other accolades, during that time. Both Trottier and Bossy would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP (1980 and 1982, respectively), proving the line was also quite productive in the crunch time that is the playoffs. All three members of the line have had their numbers retired by the Islanders and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Penalty Shot

Penalty Shot Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Tequila
  • 0.25 oz Citron Vodka
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

Honourable mentions go to the French Connection (Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert), the Triple Crown Line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne), and That 70’s Line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson). While not making up a complete line, one of the most prolific scoring duos in hockey history, Brett Hull and Adam Oates, were given the nickname Hull and Oates, a play on the musical act Hall and Oates… too bad neither of them rocked a great 80’s porn stache!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter had a nice blue colour until I added the dash of Cinnamon and then it all turned into a fuzzy green hue… I think it still looks okay, though. I used a Cinnamon Stick for garnish to imitate a good ol’ fashioned wooden hockey stick. As for taste, this all came together like a Long Island Iced Tea, just miniaturized. And that’s a drink that goes down easy.

April 12 – Canuck-tini

Rebuild Realization

As the NHL season winds to a close and the playoffs are set to begin, the Sip Advisor’s team, the Vancouver Canucks only have a spring of golf tee times to look forward to. This rare occurrence over the last decade is the culmination of the squad unraveling since their 2011 Stanley Cup Final appearance, thanks to a few highly-publicized misfires. Please forgive me a moment to regionalize my work for this site, as here are the top five reasons the Canucks are in need of a reboot:

#5: Trading for Derek Roy

While some trade deadline rental deals work out and the player sticks with the team for a few seasons (ie. Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre in 2011), trading for Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars in 2013 completely blew up in the Canucks collective face. Roy never seemed to click with his Vancouver teammates and signed with St. Louis in the off-season. Worst of all, the ‘Nucks gave up some of their future in the deal, trading away defensive prospect Kevin Connauton and a second round draft pick, which was used to select goaltender Philippe Desrosiers. Only time will tell if that comes back to bite Vancouver in the butt later.

Fun for Whole Family

#4: Trading for David Booth

A former 30-goal scorer with the Florida Panthers, Booth has scored a combined total of 26 tallies in his nearly three seasons with the Canucks. While Vancouver only gave up a couple of players (Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm) who didn’t seem to fit with the club going forward, Booth has never been able to live up to the expectations fans first hoped for when he came to the Canucks and has found himself frequently on the injured reserve list. Booth is certainly a buyout candidate this summer, despite his strong play to end the campaign, with one season remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million contract.

#3: Trading for Keith Ballard

Looking to beef up their options on puck-moving defensemen, the Canucks traded for Keith Ballard, of the Florida Panthers, at the 2010 NHL Draft. To land the rearguard, Vancouver gave up former first round draft choice Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier, and their opening pick of that draft, which turned out to be Quinton Howden. Grabner flourished with the New York Islanders, scoring 34 goals in his rookie season after being waived by the Panthers. Bernier is a regular with the New Jersey Devils, while Howden is now cracking the Florida line-up. Ballard was bought out in the 2013 off-season after a couple seasons of ineffectiveness and time spent in the press box.

Canucks Riot

#2: Trading Cody Hodgson

Hodgson apparently wanted out of Vancouver, but trading him away depleted a strong center ice core. With Ryan Kesler likely on his way out of town, Hodgson could have seamlessly slotted into the second-line center role that would have opened up. Getting Zack Kassian in the deal was a decent return, but he has yet to realize his full potential. Some have argued, however, that he hasn’t been given a fair chance to succeed under the current coaching regime. Hodgson, meanwhile, has put up 85 points for the Buffalo Sabres since the swap, leaving Vancouver (Kassian has 41 points in the same time) without the greatest prospect they’ve had in years.

#1: Trading Cory Schneider/Roberto Luongo

This whole fiasco lost the Canucks not only their number one netminder, but also the goalie of their future. When the team moved on from Luongo during the 2012 playoffs, I knew he was done with the squad… yet the saga lasted until March 2014 and by that time, Schneider had already been dealt. Now, the Canucks are left with two young, inexperienced and unproven tenders in Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, while their once solid tandem wins games for other franchises. That puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Bo Horvat (drafted with the pick exchanged for Schneider) and Shawn Matthias (the other part of the Luongo deal, along with Markstrom).

Super Saturday Shot Day: Canuck-tini

Apr 12

  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Dash of Honey
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

Hopefully, the Canucks can clean things up a little at this year’s draft and through free agency. Picking up a free agent goalie and trading Ryan Kesler (I hate to see him go, but he clearly wants out) for a package of assets could get this reboot off the ground quickly. I can’t help but notice that the Florida Panthers have played a great role in Vancouver’s misery and demise. That said, Florida can also be credited with the Canucks’ last ascension, when Roberto Luongo was plucked from the Southeast Division in 2006.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
After a year like the one Canucks fans just endured, downing copious amounts of alcohol is in short order. Will this shot do the trick? Well, it can’t hurt! This martini recipe comes from the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver and I’ve taken the liberty of converting it into a shooter. It was okay and probably makes a better martini, to be honest. You mostly taste the Blue Curacao, with a hint of the Raspberry Vodka. Much like the Canucks 2013-14 season… it’s disappointing!

September 21 – What’s My Name Again?

30 for 30

While the title of today’s post is shared by the popular ESPN sports documentary series, I’m using it to describe 30 great achievements of my 30 years on this planet. This is kind of my bucket list of crossed off items… mission accomplished!

Family and Friends

1: Got Engaged – I’m still surprised she said yes!

2: Got Married – Again, I’m still surprised she said yes… I gave her a year and a half to change her mind!

funny-marriage

3: Was a Best Man – Broski Sip got married in 2010 with me by his side.

4: Planned a Stag Party – Nothing says “I love you, man” than planning the perfect sendoff as your buddy enters married life.

Rites of Passage

5: Earned a Driver’s License – Been on the roads for 14 years now… Mrs. Sip still doesn’t have a full license!

6: Graduated High School – Some people didn’t see that coming!

High School Graduate

7: Earned 4 Diplomas/Degrees/Certificates – I have quite the resume… anyone looking to hire!?

8: No More Picky Eater – Chicken strips and fries are pretty awesome, but lobster and escargot are better.

9: Moved Out – It was hard to leave the amazing home of Ma and Pa Sip, but living with Mrs. Sip has its own benefits!

Travel

10: Travelled to 34 Countries – Mrs. Sip will hit 50 countries before she turns 30, but I think I still made a pretty damn good dent.

11: Stepped foot on 6 Continents – I’m only missing Antarctica, which we hope to get to one day.

12: Lived Abroad – Spent six months living in England and travelling Europe.

studying-abroad

13: Visited the Greatest Cities in the World – From London to St. Petersburg, Sydney to Los Angeles, the resume isn’t full yet, but I’ve been to so many cool places.

Academics

14: Made the Honour Roll – Got my shit together one year and made the honour roll twice… it never happened again.

15: Graduated with Honours – Always knew journalism and I were a match made in heaven!

Professional

16: Became Published – My first article ever (aside from online and school writing) was for B.C. Hockey Now.

17: Covered the Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and B.C. Lions (CFL) – The two biggest sports franchises in Vancouver and I got to watch both for free!

Journalism

18: Worked the 2010 Winter Olympics – NBC Universal Sports hired me for the Games, a goal of mine when I first entered journalism school.

19: Made Money Doing What I Love – Watching sports for a job just doesn’t get much better… perhaps getting paid to have sex!?

20: Started The Sip Advisor – I was thirsty (literally!) for a new project when Mrs. Sip suggested The Sip Advisor. Here we are and I’m pretty sure everyone is having a good time!

Adventure/Crazy

21: Tried a Number of Extreme Sports – Bungy jumping, ziplining, zorbing, luging, surfing, scuba diving… I’ve tried them all!

22: Saw my Favourite Comedians Perform – From Christopher Titus to Daniel Tosh, I’ve seen all of the living comedians I ever wanted to.

23: Won Money in Las Vegas – I’m too cautious to lose or win a lot of money, but I did come home up on one trip and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

Stays in Vegas

24: Won Money at the Races – My last trip to Fraser Downs resulted in six winning bets on nine races, including picking three winners straight up!

25: Hosted an Annual Event – My annual Beer Pong tournament is a highlight of the summer social calendar.

26: Invented a Word – Walk Blocking – like cock blocking, but everyone can do it!

27: Became an Internet Sensation – And the journey has only just begun!

28: Swam Across a Body of Water – I joined Mrs. Sip for a crossing of the water outside our lodge in Indian Arm, B.C. It took us 45 minutes round trip to make the journey.

29: Shot a Gun – Cousin Sip and I hit one of the many ranges in Las Vegas to help cross this off the list.

30: Sang Karaoke – Not well, but Mrs. Sip and I do perform a rocking version of ‘I Hate Everything About You’!

Drink #264: What’s My Name Again?

Sept 21

  • 0.3 oz Spiced Rum (I used Kraken)
  • 0.3 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.3 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.3 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.3 oz Vodka
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

There are still so many things left to do (get a tattoo, touch a snake, go skydiving, drink motor oil!) that the next 30 years should be just as adventurous as the first 30. Any suggestions!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot finishes Rum Week and the story goes that if you have enough of these, you’ll forget your own name! While it is a rather potent shooter, it’s also very tasty, helped along by the Peach Schnapps, Southern Comfort, and Goldschlager. I’ll have to try their little dare sometime and see how long it takes for the ol’ mind to go blank! Let’s drink to my successes and excesses!

September 10 – Homeward Bound

Welcome Back

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

Trevor Linden – Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

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

Doug Gilmour – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

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

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Entertainment

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

Ken Griffey, Jr. – Seattle Mariners (MLB)

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

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (NBA)

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

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

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

Drink #253: Homeward Bound

Sept 10

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

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

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