Hockey players have the reputation for being a lot of things...
One of those things is that they're known to be very personable and will usually take the time to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan. They also have the reputation for giving very dry interviews and offering lame sayings like: "we have to be first on the puck, it's a gut-check time, and we have to give 110% out there". Yes, they're interviews are quite mundane, but the irony is that hockey players also have the reputation for being party-animals. This begs the question, which NHL players would make good drinking buddies?!
There are a few things we have to assess when making our picks. First and foremost, it's important to acknowledge that just because someone drinks a lot does NOT mean that you'd want to be their drinking buddy. Take Ed Belfour for example, he was notorious for going out and getting belligerently drunk and getting in all sorts of trouble with the law. He even punched backup goalie Alex Auld in the eye on one drunken occasion. Who would want to go out with someone that always gets you in trouble? A more recent example is Patrick Kane. Granted, he has not been convicted of rape but still, assaulting the cab driver on the way home isn't ideal either.
When selecting a drinking buddy, we also want to make sure that the person is interesting and won't make you fall asleep at the table while he's nursing one beer talking about dry-wall. The NHL has (and has had) some interesting characters, let's take a gander at who would make the best drinking buddies.
15 Chris Chelios
In the latter stages of his career, Chelios was regarded for incredible fitness regimen and stingy diet (the guy played until he was freakin' 48!). But in his earlier days, Chelios was a party-animal and was known as the NHL's "bad boy". His partying and carousing eventually got him shipped out of Montreal, but it's not as if his play dipped. His former teammate Chris Nilan now has a radio show on TSN690 and always references his wild nights out on the town with "Chelly". Another important thing that Nilan makes sure to add is that even when nursing a hangover, it wouldn't deter Chelios' play. What more can you ask for in a drinking buddy? A guaranteed crazy and fun night out but still shows up to work the next day, unfazed.
14 Alex Ovechkin
Ovy is like that kid in class that's always acting up but somehow avoids trouble! All one has to do is type "Alex Ovechkin drunk" on Google images and there is a plethora of evidence that will appear right before your eyes. There's one hilarious picture of him and Habs defenseman Andrei Markov drunk as skunks during All-Star weekend in 2008. His most recent drunken appearance was actually at the 2015 All-Star Draft where it was more than apparent that Ovy had started his own festivities before the draft. Once the draft began, he was slurring his words and maintained that he was excited for the "night-time" and that he wanted to be picked last. The amount of times Ovy said: "I need a car" rivaled the amount of times Allen Iverson said the word "practice." Towards the end of the draft, Ovechkin was still available and took a seat on Mark Giordano's lap. Ultimately...Ovy did not get his car, but he stole the show with his tomfoolery. Anyone else probably would have been fined for such behaviour, but being a rascal seems to be part of Ovechkin's charm. He would definitely make a solid drinking buddy.
13 Jarret Stoll
Jaret Stoll simply doesn't know what the hell is going on anymore and it would be intriguing to hang out with him. We have to wonder what exactly is going through his mind at this point? In June, he walked into a pool party in Vegas at the MGM Grand's Wet Republic. Security requested to frisk him upon entry, to which he took no issue. He didn't walk away or attempt to find another party. He simply put his arms up as if he had nothing to hide...and got busted with 3.3 grams of cocaine and several ecstasy pills. The question is, is he such a party-animal that he thought carrying around drugs was normal? Did he think because it was Vegas that he could walk in with absolutely anything? These are some burning questions we'd love to ask Stoll after a few drinks. Regardless, he is a regular on L.A's party scene and is dating a smoke show in Erin Andrews. Most civilians are intimidated to even walk the streets of L.A, while Stoll struts in like he owns the place. A night on the town in L.A. with him would be awesome.
12 Jonathan Toews
"Captain Serious" makes the list. He's not as rambunctious as Chelios, Ovechkin and Stoll but sometimes you need a leader that's there to take care of everyone. We've all been in the situation where one member of the crew is too drunk and is trying to pick fights or is simply making a scene. The 3-time Stanley Cup champion is widely regarded as the best captain in the league and would make a great drinking buddy to keep a watchful eye on everyone and make sure that no one gets out of line. He also seems to genuinely care about his teammates and would be there deliver some solid words of wisdom if someone was having an off-night or just "feeling blue."
He's serious enough to make sure nothing bad happens, but not too stiff in a sense that he won't let you have fun (see their Stanley cup celebrations). A perfect leader and drinking buddy.
11 Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr was essentially written off 10 years ago but at 43 years old, Jagr still remains an effective winger in the NHL. He plays, looks and acts way younger than his actual age. We'd love to have a few drinks with Jagr because he'd be that token older guy that fits in seamlessly, more of a cool big brother than a father figure. He'd also have a lot of cool stories to pass along from the 90s while he's still actively part of today's game and very young at heart. The only issue with Jagr is that he doesn't seem to be very savvy with his money. In 2003, SI reported that he had owed 500 thousand dollars for a line of credit with a Belize-based gambling site (CaribSports). Jagr had also admitted to paying off nearly a million dollars in internet gambling debts. The I.R.S. also came after him in 2001 for 3 million dollars worth of unpaid taxes. While it would be really cool to drink with Jagr, he may bail when the tab comes.
10 P.K. Subban
He is a player that gives it all he's got each and every shift. This mindset applies to all aspects of his life, including when donating to charity, as he didn't just donate a meagre amount to the Montreal Children's Hospital for a tax write-off. He donated 10 million dollars for crying out loud! He does not half-ass anything...including partying. This humble writer can yell you first hand, when P.K Subban walks into a nightclub in Montreal, everyone immediately stops what they're doing and looks in Subban's direction. He is a regular at Muzique night club as it's one of Montreal's hottest spots. He regularly walks in with a swoon of beautiful women and "raises the roof" with Montreal clubbers until the wee hours of the morning.
9 Ryan Getzlaf
A few years ago, Getzlaf was at the Saskatchewan Roughriders game, presumably to support his brother Chris who plays on the team. When the camera spotted Getzlaf in the first quarter, he gave the TV/crowd a respectful wave. By the 4th quarter, Getzlaf was dunk out of his mind and looked like the biggest Riders fan ever. You have to love someone that's excitable when they drink. It's also integral to have someone in the crew that will have your back, no matter what. After an overtime loss to the United States in the 2012 World Championships, Getzlaf and Corey Perry went out to drown their sorrows at a local bar in Helsinki. Some Finns were mocking Getzlaf and Perry as he reportedly waved his fists and gave them the old: "You don't want any of this" line.
Don't mess with a dunk 6'4, 225 lb Canadian that just lost a hockey game. Don Cherry would be proud. (Thumb's Up!)
8 Paul Bissonnette
How does a forward that has 22 points in 202 NHL games have nearly 700 000 twitter followers? Ah, "BizNasty2point0" is a social media king. Any time he is out and about drinking and partying, he attaches photos to his Twitter and Instagram along with some hilarious commentary. The common man is basically living vicariously through Bissonette's social media accounts. Some of his tweets are also borderline absurd and cross many lines. Don't believe me? He once asked his twitter followers if it was possible to "poop without peeing"...the beauty of Bissonnette is that he does not care one bit about the absurdity of his tweets and welcomes the criticism, oftentimes retweeting it or "chirping" the person back. He's so naturally charismatic and genuinely seems like a very nice guy to be around. It would be a delight to have a few "wobbly pops" (as my Brit friends like to say) with BizNasty.
7 Roberto Luongo
As funny as Bissonnette is on social media, Luongo is simply funnier. It's amazing because his sense of humour seemingly came out of nowhere. He spent the majority of his career offering very little personality to the public...and for some reason, people loved to hate on him (maybe it's because of his slicked back hair?). But over the past few years, Luongo has unquestionably had the funniest Twitter account in the NHL. Bissonnette is a close 2nd, but most of his jokes are sophomoric and toilet humour (literal toilet humour in the instance mentioned above). Luongo pokes fun at anything and everything, from pop culture to current events, other NHL players, and his favorite target to laugh at, himself. Luongo has a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humour. It's the type of humour that made comedian/actor Steve Martin famous. If Luongo is this funny on a daily basis, could you imagine how comical he would be after a few cocktails?
Side note, After Ovechkin's night of fun at the All-Star Draft, Luongo had this to say on Twitter: "No sign of Ovi8's liver at optional skate this morning #NHLAllStarWeekend".
6 Joe Thornton
Why Joe Thornton you ask? It's simple, for the bachelors out there, he would be the ultimate wingman. He's all about setting up his teammates as he's more known for his passing prowess. He'd also never hog the glory for himself because he never wins.
Alright, enough with the hockey parallels. Seriously, Thornton looks like a riot to hang around with. He's very blunt and to the point and sometimes that's what you need in a drinking buddy. We've all had moments after a few drinks where someone comes up with what they think is the greatest idea ever, and the group will humour the stupidity in fear of rocking the boat or hurting their feelings. Jumbo Joe would have none of that as he's had a few gem quotes of brutal honesty. For example, The Sharks GM Doug Wilson addressed season ticket holders as to why the "C" was removed from Joe Thornton. Wilson really didn't need to be addressing a question to fans when it wasn't really asked in the first place. Thornton responded with: "I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth".
But, similarly to Getzlaf, he'll have your back if he feels you're being attacked unjustly. After overhearing a journalist ask Patrick Marleau if their teammate Tomas Hertl's celebration after his 4th goal was "too much", he jumped in with this beauty: "Shut up, have you ever played the game? I'd have my c**k out if I scored four goals. I'd have my c**k out, stroking it".
5 Tyler Seguin
There's all kinds of rumours about Tyler Seguin's lifestyle. It was his partying that got him shipped out of Boston (maybe the worst trade in the modern era). But when has Seguin ever actually been in trouble with the law? It seems as though there's a lot of hearsay with him and very little concrete evidence. Sure, he lives in a bachelor pad where he has a cabinet called "the lost and found" and it's stacked with women's shoes and clothing. He's also been caught dancing shirtless at bars many a time, but he's not the first young hockey player to get overzealous (it happens to the best, Ron MacLean even got caught dancing drunk with his shirt off).
The only thing Seguin seems guilty of is having a good time, and it's not as if his play has dipped. It's been the opposite actually as he is now one of the best forwards in the league, and would have won the Art Ross last season had he not gotten hurt. We'd have a beer with you any day of the week, Tyler (I'd keep my shirt on though).
4 Henrik Lundqvist
Sometimes an evening out just needs a touch of class and dash of refinement. This is exactly what Henrik Lundqvist would bring to the table. In the same clip where Seguin revealed his bachelor pad with the "lost and found" section, he mentions a valuable lesson that he learned from Lundqvist.
There was an event where the attire was supposed to be "business casual" and Lundqvist showed up in a dapper 3-piece suit. Seguin was a tad perplexed and told Lundqvist that the attire was supposed to be business casual, to which "the king" replied: "There's no such thing as business casual".
If you're out having drinks with Lundqvist, be prepared to be sipping on expensive cognac and 25-year old scotch. It would be a night where the gentlemen come out and the boys stay at home as there will be no "chugging" either, only savouring. One time in the HBO 24/7 series, the camera's were following the New York Rangers around all day, including when they were out to dinner. Lundqvist picked up the tab and didn't even flinch (including Marian Gaborik's 8 beers).
Drinking the best of the best, and he might even foot the bill? Solid drinking buddy.
3 Bobby Orr
There's no concrete evidence that would indicate that Mr. Orr (oh yeah, we're going with mister, we'd probably end up calling him "sir" for the entire night) would make a great drinking buddy. But man oh man, there are a lot of intangibles that have the making for a memorable evening.
Most importantly, he's widely regarded as the second best hockey player of all-time (some would argue he was the best). Even those who argue that Gretzky is the best, would argue that Orr was one of a kind. He is also a class act that nobody really has a bad word to say about. As for the intangibles...well, he is a Canadian of Irish descent that basically rules Boston. Could you imagine a night out in Beantown with "number four, Bobby Orr?"
2 Mark Messier
This one is simple, and it goes back to the movie Wedding Crashers: "rule #1, never leave a fellow crasher behind." Messier will go down as one of the best captain's of all time and certainly abides by that rule.
Tie Domi shared a story where he decided to "ride his stick" in celebration after scoring a goal to win the game. He thought he was being super cool and entertaining the crowd, when in reality, Messier was seething at the bench. As soon as they got into the dressing room, Messier blasted Domi about his antics and lectured him about "respect." Domi basically didn't say a word as he got undressed and was feeling ashamed that he had let Messier down. Finally "Mess" approached Domi and said: "so, where are we going out?" Domi sat there stunned and didn't know how to respond because he was under the impression that Messier was furious at him. Don't get it twisted, Messier was very upset with the way Domi acted but realized that Domi was part of the team and that nobody should be left behind.
Who wouldn't want to go have a few cold ones with a guy like that?
1 Jeremy Roenick
Roenick has done everything from drunkenly dancing with Justin Timberlake at a club in L.A (angering Cameron Diaz in the process), to attempting to tackle an alligator on a golf course. "J.R" is a true wild man and would be a treat to have as a drinking buddy.
All the evidence we need is in his autobiography, which offers a plethora of shenanigans that involve getting sauced. One of his best stories involved his favorite coach and noted hard-ass, Mike Keenan. "Iron Mike" had a habit of waiting by the hotel lobby so he could catch players that were breaking curfew. As per usual, Roenick had been out way too late but did not feel like being fined or dealing with Keenan's wrath, so he developed a fool-proof plan...he climbed through the vent to avoid Keenan. It somehow brought him into the kitchen of the hotel but this narrow escape apparently wasn't good enough for J.R as he had to grab a Budweiser and a ham sandwich from the fridge (one for the road).
Another highlight was when he was left stranded after a night out. He was in the middle of nowhere and didn't have a cell phone as this was the early 90s. He decided to knock on someone's door at 3 am and apologetically asked the confused man if he could use his phone. Once the owner of the house started to shake off the cobwebs, he realized that he was talking to Jeremy Roenick and offered him a beer. They proceeded to sit down and finish a 6-pack before calling Roenick a cab.
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