Hockey players are the most fan-friendly professional athletes.
Don’t believe me? Just ask a handful of Georgetown University students.
According to NBCWashington.com , a group of Phoenix Coyotes players, later revealed to be forward Vernon Fiddler, defenseman Jim Vandermeer, and goalie Jason LaBarbara, took on a group of students from Georgetown University in a drinking game at a Washington D.C. bar Sunday afternoon.
The students then challenged the hockey players to the ultimate collegiate suds-swilling contest: flip cup.
The challenge was accepted, but on one condition.
“We don’t do beer on tap,” quipped one of the toothless titans, “so it’ll have to be Miller Lite bottles.”
The Coyotes were out to prove they could get a win in Washington.
The game goes like this: After chugging a full beer, players attempt to flip an empty plastic cup off the edge of the table so that it stands upright. A failed flip results in another chug, then rebound and repeat.
Like they have all year on the ice, the Coyotes surprised their competitors with their skills and earned the win.
Now, I know some will take issue with the fact that these men who are supposed to be “role models” were playing a game involving alcohol. I, however, don’t see the problem.
Right now, the Coyotes biggest issue in Phoenix is they lack an identity and personality that can connect them to the fans. When the team was popular in the late 90s, it was because of personalities like Jeremy Roenick who were fan-friendly and interesting—on and off the ice.
This story gives a glimpse of how interesting this young group of players on the ‘Yotes roster actually is. Too bad it happened 3,000 miles away from Glendale.
If the team was smart, they’d capitalize on this new found “personality” and send Fiddler, Vandermeer, LaBarbara, and any other player interested, around to Valley sports bars and challenge the locals to different drinking games. I can’t imagine a better way to become the coolest team in town.
The team could even tailor their marketing campaign to “Join the 6-pack."
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if those measures come in 12 ounce increments.