Junior hockey players who pretty much live together for eight months tend to be comfortable with each other in ways that might weird out adults who are happily repressed, thankyouverymuch. Sometimes that gets out into the public realm.
Last Friday, after the Halifax Mooseheads' scored what turned out to be the series-winning goal in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final, co-captain Stefan Fournier decided the stand hug-your-brothers celebration was not enough. It's been done before in the testosterone-fuelled world of male team sports, but the 21-year-old Fournier decided teammate and top NHL draft prospect Jonathan Drouin deserved a little more congratulations.
From Andrew Rankin (@MetroMooseheads):
What better time to share a congratulatory peck than after scoring in the QMJHL title-clinching game, just like Fournier did on Friday?
After notching a beauty, the game’s second goal, the troops swooped in as usual for a post goal embrace. Except this time the six-foot-two, 210-pound Fournier planted one right on sniper Jonathan Drouin’s lips.
... “It was in the moment and I’m going to kiss my brother,” said an animated Fournier after Tuesday’s practice at the Halifax Forum. “By the way, for all the ladies out there, Jo’s a great kisser.”
Truth be told the smooch came as a little bit of a surprise for Drouin. But, hey, it was OK in the moment. After all, who’s Drouin to rain on anyone’s parade?
“(Fournier) likes to kiss all the time and at the time it was alright we were in mid-celebration, but right now, maybe not,” said Drouin with a chuckle on Friday night, just after he was through hoisting the President’s Cup.
... Fournier couldn’t care less that his actions have brought about Twitter chirps galore, and enough teasing since the smooch to last a lifetime.
“They’re all asking ‘what was that?’;‘What were you doing?’ (Metro Halifax, May 14)
For all the ladies out there ... you see what Fournier did there. On one level, he's looking out for Drouin by playing wingman, reciprocating for all the times the younger player set him up while Fournier was scoring a team-record 16 playoff goals.
On another level, it's also pre-emptive counter-chirping; anyone who taunts him over this is just betraying that they are not comfortable in their own skin. It's like how people who are put off by Sidney Crosby say more about themselves than they do about the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar. It's like the Mooseheads decided they would rather have the mien of Kramer on Seinfeld instead of projecting hangups every which way like Jerry and George.
Athletes have a lot of downtime, a sometimes middlebrow amusement quotient and a love for physical comedy. German defenceman Konrad Abeltshauser affirmed to Rankin that this is a thing among the Quebec League powerhouse.
Abeltshauser wasn’t going to deny ever getting into the action, either.
“Then again there aren’t many guys on our team who haven’t gotten a kiss from one of us yet, and that’s OK,” he said.
Halifax plays its first game in the MasterCard Memorial Cup against the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Sportsnet). By sheer kissincidence, Winterhawks coach Travis Green once smooched with Zigmund Palffy during their playing days with the New York Islanders.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (photo: Jeff Harper/Metro Halifax).