Tyler Pitlick rolled a cart through the Barons locker room after Wednesday's practice. He stopped at each locker to offer teammates a cup of Gatorade.
Pitlick was that day's “juice boy.”
Similar to a free-throw shooting contest between players in basketball, hockey has a version called “juice boy,” a tradition that dates back several decades.
In hockey's version, each player attempts to score from the hash marks in front of the crease. If the shot is blocked by the goaltender, the skater gets a second chance. Fail to score and you return to a group of players who haven't scored. The competition continues until only one player hasn't scored.
“Juice boy tradition is you usually have a pretty good game the next game,” said Pitlick, the Barons' third-year forward.
The next game is 7 p.m. Friday, when the Barons host Rochester, the first game of a weekend triple-header. Oklahoma City hosts Milwaukee at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Cox Convention Center.
Wednesday's practice wasn't the first time this season Pitlick lost the juice boy competition.
“It can be stressful when you're one of the last guys out there. That's pretty nerve wracking,” said defenseman Taylor Fedun. “I've been juice boy before. But no way did I want to lose ‘mustache boy.' I don't look good wearing a mustache.”
“Mustache boy” is held two or three times a season. That day's juice boy loser is required to grow a mustache the entire month. Earlier this season, Barons players concocted “magazine boy.” That day's loser was required to purchase new magazines for all the locker-room toilet stalls.
Another variation is teammates drop their sticks on the ice. Under those rules, the losing shooter is required to return all sticks to the locker room.
Barons assistant coach Gerry Fleming a decade ago was head coach of the Florida Everblades in the ECHL. The Everblades' juice boy penance was the player was required to practice in a beat-up, pink helmet with a plastic Gatorade cup taped to the top and the words “free agent” written on the side.
“We did it during the playoffs to ease the tension,” Fleming said. “They had to wear that pink helmet at every practice until he was no longer juice boy. It was comical. We actually went to the finals that year.”
Juice boy is more common in the minor leagues, college and junior ranks. The Barons hold juice boy around 25 times a season. It's common for teammates to root against the top scorers.
At a Barons practice last season, Edmonton Oilers star Jordan Eberle was one of two juice boy skaters remaining. Teammates were hoping Eberle, an NHL All-Star who was playing for Oklahoma City during the lockout, would be juice boy.
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