The Vancouver Canucks came under scrutiny on Thursday after public allegations made by a Gaelic football player about the team’s drinking habits began making the rounds online.
That’s an odd sentence, but stick with us.
Lee Chin, the aforementioned Gaelic footballer, traded places with former Vancouver Canucks goalie Alex Auld over the summer for a TV show named “The Toughest Trade.” Chin spoke to The Irish Times about the experience and made some pretty harsh claims about the team’s pre-game habits.
“The drinking culture they have, I couldn’t believe it. They were lowering pints the day before a game. And that was sitting at lunch.
“It was after we played a game on a Sunday, and there was a lunch with the alumni team on the Monday. I was invited, with Erik Gudbranson and one of his teammates beside him. I had a glass a water. Erik was injured, but I asked his teammate if he was playing tomorrow and he said ‘yeah, what’s the big deal?’”
But the most shocking claim was that of a supposed tradition called a “change up” NHL coaches use to get a struggling player going again.
“And they have this thing called a ‘change up’, when a player is not on form, not scoring. The manager will call a ‘change up’, and basically that player has to go out and ruin himself for the night, then come back the next day, with the attitude of you just don’t care.
“So they send him out, drink 20 pints, go off with a couple of women, whatever he wants. And come back the next day. That’s the way they live. It’s the culture, what they believe in, letting off steam like that. I don’t know if they look at the science behind it.”
For what it’s worth, that sounds pretty exaggerated. And Yahoo! Sports spoke with a few former NHL players and journeymen (recently retired) who were highly skeptical about the veracity of Chin’s claims.
Also, 20 pints? NHL players are tough, but they’re not Thor.
As one might expect, the Canucks are upset about these claims and denied any truth in them. Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden released this statement to Yahoo! Sports.