MONTREAL (AP) — With the NHL lockout grinding through its fourth month, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges looked to an unusual source to find his next hockey game: Twitter.
The 28-year-old Gorges extended an open invitation to his followers on the social network to join him at a Montreal rink Wednesday afternoon, during the Boxing Day holiday.
Fans responded in droves.
The scene didn't look much different from those playing out at countless parks and ponds across the country — except for the high turnout.
Dozens of players, ranging widely in age and skill level, packed into a rink in the city's Verdun neighborhood for a chance to skate alongside an NHL player.
"I haven't played outdoors in a long time, but I figured we've got some time and I've got nothing else to do," Gorges told reporters during a break from the game. "I was just looking to skate outdoors and I threw it out there on Twitter and so many people were asking where I'd go play. So I thought, 'Why not set a time and place and we'll all come and play?'"
In recent days, Gorges had been joking about the upcoming game in messages sent out to his 23,000-plus followers on Twitter. A few hours before the game, he mused that he may be a little slower than usual on the ice after having Christmas dinner the night before.