Friday, 8 April 2016

Highest-Paid Shooter

Minor-pro hockey is always fun. There are always wacky promotions, fun events, and crazy plays in the lower professional ranks, and really makes one appreciate the fun in hockey as a fan. The ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears, who have one of sport's best team names, compete with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Florida Everblades among the various pro teams in Florida for fans, but they may find themselves with more people attending games if they decide to hold the same contest they did on Thursday night. One fan went home with more money than some of players make!

On Thursday night, the Orlando Solar Bears decided to hold one of the shoot-from-long-distance contests for its fans. The prize? $100,000 if the puck slid through the three-inch slot in the middle of the giant promotional board. Chance of actually having this happen? Well, the Solar Bears thought it was probably somewhere between slim and none from 115-feet away as a fan stood at the opposite blue line. Solar Bears season ticket holder Nick Giovanelli decided to put those odds to the test!
Clearly, the announcer had the same thoughts as the Solar Bears as he was recapping the first period while Mr. Giovanelli lined up the shot from a different time zone. Once he realized what had happened, though, there was some excitement shown by the incredulous announcer!

So what was running through Mr. Giovanelli's mind as he watched the puck slide down the ice towards the net? "It made it about three-quarters of the way, and it looked like it was starting to slow down, and I am like, 'Aw, man, did I not hit it hard enough?'" Giovanelli told Stephen Ruiz of the Orlando Sentinel. "Then it went in."

Mr. Gionvanelli is a sales rep for a liquor company when he's not scoring goals with pin-point accuracy. The 26 year-old fan plans to use whatever money is left over after taxes for his three year-old daughter's future - a wise investment indeed! I'm still enjoying the fact that he left the arena with more money than most of the players after supporting them all season. That's a return on investment like no other!

Congratulations go out to Nick Giovanelli on his goal! Unfortunately for Giovanelli and the other 5428 fans at Amway Center, the Florida Everblades downed the Solar Bears by a 4-2 score to close out the season. The loss was inconsequential for the Bears, though, as they had already been eliminated from postseason play. Regardless of the outcome, I'm pretty sure the smile still hasn't left Nick's face!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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