The 2003-04 Calgary Flames circulated the hard hat, the 2010-11 Pittsburgh Penguins coveted the Kevin “Duffy” Shovel Award, the 2011-12 New York Rangers passed around an old fedora, and the 2012-13 Phoenix Coyotes have one badass custom championship wrestling-style belt.
Eat your heart out, Aaron Rodgers. This is the real deal.
The old dressing-room tradition of teammates anointing their own player of the game just got more ostentatious and Bruno Sammartino-like.
“The boys here from the Coyotes wanted a belt, so we made them a belt,” explained designer Reggie Parks to Coyotes TV. “And it’s a pretty damn nice one, I can tell ya.”
Last year the Coyotes passed around a WWE spinner belt – given to the player of the game as determined by the previous player of the game – brought in by goaltender Jason LaBarbera, but the team had a shiny new one with the Coyotes logo custom-made for this season.
The golden idea for a more personalized belt came from Coyotes conditioning coach Mike Bahn, also a wrestling nut.
“It’s just something different,” Yandle told Coyotes TV. “Obviously the media does a great job with picking (the three stars). Sometimes it might not be a guy who scores a goal. Sometimes it’s a big blocked shot or something that changed the game.”
Head coach Dave Tippett began the player-of-the-game honour in 2009, awarding the best player following each win with the game puck in the dressing room, and several NHL clubs have a similar tradition.
But the Coyotes’ is the shiniest.