Saturday, April 21, 2012

Five-holes and Donut-holes: True Stories about Professional Hockey Players and Their Favourite Donuts

There’s a hole in the title. Professional goalies aren’t the only players featured here. The title, courtesy of creative collaborator Msr. Jean-Pierre Plouffe, (a.k.a. Puckbite) is a teaser, an appetizer à la the Timbit or Munchkin, to introduce those whose skills and diligence are or were sharp enough to play professional—at any position. Regardless of their goals-against average or plus/minus rating, each of the players listed below, like those of us not destined for hockey divinity, share an affinity; dare I say weakness, for that oft-round and tasty treat: We are all rendered enervated and yield to the yeasty (or cakey, as the case may be) feast that is the donut.

For the uninitiated: The hockey-donut convergence originates from my affiliation with the best morning hockey league evah, where would-be beer-leaguers are more prone to retire to bed before midnight, awaken before dawn, and then drive to Valley Sports Arena in Concord, MA. There in the venerable arena, we partake in the conviviality—the joie de vivre of the hockey and donut dream—that the AMHL (as in 6:30 A.M Hockey League) promises. This amateur co-ed confederation of pucksters/donut connoisseurs loves hockey and the post-game staple just as much as the pros love our game and donuts.

Gerry Cheevers: A few minutes before the Bruins-Islanders game on March 3, 2012, Cheesie sat at a small table outside the Bruins Pro Shop. My wife/AMHL Photographer then went inside to purchase Unmasked, Cheevers’s autobiography, written with Marc Zappulla. Book in hand, I approached the former netminder. We chatted about his hometown, St. Catharines Ontario, the Don Cherry-Colorado Rockies connection...and then I asked him about his favourite donut. “Chocolate Glazed,” he said. “Just had one.” (A portion of the poceeds from Unmasked will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Hal Gill: While the under-appreciated, in my opinion, defenseman was in Finland (during the 2004-05 NHL Lockout, Gill played for Rauman Lukko), he responded to my email query: His favorite Dunkin’ Donut franchise: “In Wilmington (MA) across from the practice rink (Ristuccia).” His favorite donut: “What else, the (Boston Kreme). It’s perfection washed down with a French Vanilla coffee.”

Aaron Ward: In 2008, at the first annual ‘Cuts for a Cause, a fundraiser for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, I shaved Wardo’s head (true story). Afterwards, I asked know... Because he lived in Carolina, the crucible of Krispy Kreme, I expected Wardo to promote his hometown favourite. “Boston Kreme,” he said. “True story.”

Adam McQuaid: In San Jose for the Bruins-Sharks game on March 22, 2012, the AMHL Photographer and I learned we were staying in the same hotel as the Bruins. As the B’s waited in the lobby for the bus to take them to the Shark Tank, my wife and I approached Mr. Mullett, a.k.a. Darth Quaider. My wife chatted about our visits to Prince Edward Island, McQuaid’s home province, and then she acquired his autograph for her co-worker. My turn. I introduced myself and the notion of morning hockey, handed McQuaid my business card, and then asked him The Question. “Krispy Kreme,” he said. I told him I’m not a big fan of that brand because the donuts are too perfect. No character. Upon further reflection, I accept them as part of the donut family, although their lack of flair could be considered akin to a mullet-less McQuaid.

Terry O’Reilly: At the Honda Center, before the Bruins would beat the Ducks, Taz walked along the mezzanine. I introduced myself and my purpose. Favourite donut? He paused to ponder The Question, so I prompted him with another: Perhaps something from the Land of Dunkin’? (By the way, I didn’t see one DD shop in California.) “Maple Frosted,” he said. I didn’t have a business card handy, so I told him if he Googled donut and hockey, he’d find me. He repeated my name, as if to consider searching for this true story.
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