IceCaps Insider: IceCaps take their fun seriously Posted by IceCaps on
‘Juice Boy’ practice game leaves one player seeing orange
Chris Ballard – IceCaps Insider
While IceCaps practices are usually a place for the team to strengthen skills and strategy ahead of games, they are occasionally a place where the team can cut loose and have a little fun.
A couple of times per month, the IceCaps will set aside some time at the end of practice for a friendly, yet uber-competitive, game.
The game itself is simple. One by one, in numerical order, each player gets two pucks between the hash marks. The first puck is shot from the slot, while the second is reserved for a deke. The last player to beat the goalie is the winner (or loser, depending on your point of view).
According to IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray, the game is called Juice Boy, where the loser has to fill everyone’s cup with Gatorade after a long practice. Over the years, the game evolved and so did its punishment for the loser.
“Over the last few years, it’s just become more competitive and more ideas have come out,” Jaffray said.
These days, the game has become a vessel of embarrassment for the loser. Recent renditions have seen the loser forced to wear the infamous Canadian Tuxedo, a dapper ensemble comprised of blue jeans and an accompanying jean jacket. One recent game saw IceCaps defenseman Ben Chiarot forced to wear an eye patch “all day, every day” according to Jaffray.
The pressure during these games is immense. Nobody on the team wants to lose and rambunctious goal cheers are often heard echoing in the rafters of Mile One Centre as players celebrate their removal from the game after a goal.
“A guy like Ryan Schnell, when he scores, you have never seen a guy celebrate so much as in a game like that when there’s something on the line,” Jaffray said.
Sometimes, the punishments are rather tame, like having to replenish the supply of magazines in the locker room. But sometimes, like the game held around last Christmas, the stakes are much higher and much more embarrassing.
“Last year, we changed it to Spray Tan Boy,” Jaffray said with a grin.
“The person who lost had to go on the first and the fifteenth of the month and get the darkest coating of a spray tan possible.
“The best guy possible won it last year. Will O’Neill won it. He’s a little bit of a pretty boy. He’s always dressed pretty nice, so you knew it was going to affect him.”
And affect him it did. He returned to the rink the next day with a healthy glow that Jaffray described as a “dark orange tinge” along with some confused looks from fans and opposing players.
“I remember I went to dinner with a guy on the other team,” O’Neill remembers. “He shook his head and said ‘What happened to you?’
“I made sure I told everybody it wasn’t just me trying to go to the tanning booth or anything. I lost a bet.”
O’Neill recalls his virgin tan fondly. At a practice at Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay, he was excited to get the game started, knowing what punishment was on the line for the loser. His excitement quickly turned to fear, as he became one of the last men standing.
“Oh my goodness, honestly, you have no idea how much stress is on you,” he said.
“All the guys at the end are feeling it. They don’t want it.”
It’s not just the shooters who fear the wrath of Juice Boy. Goaltenders aren’t off the hook, but they are subject to a different set of rules.
“If the goalies let in five straight goals, then they’re it,” Jaffray said.
“It’s come down to it a few times but the goalies have never lost. I don’t like the goalies losing because then they’re going to stop wanting to play. We want to keep them in the game.”
Embarrassment aside, Chiarot, O’Neill and other unfortunate winners of the game know it’s all good fun. For O’Neill, he admits he’s even learned some important lessons from his untimely ‘victory’.
“I don’t like to speak out now,” O’Neill laughed.
“I remember that day. I said ‘Today is Spray Tan Boy. Good luck guys.’ Sure enough, I lost. Now I never say anything. I shut my mouth. I don’t want the punishment to be too bad because I don’t want to lose again. It’s brutal but it’s all fun.”