As a plot line, Josh Rieger’s Saturday night adventure would belong more in an Adam Sandler movie than in any serious hockey film.
But it was still a tale for the ages.
Per the Grand Forks Herald, Rieger — a junior defenseman for North Dakota — was in Denver with the team for a series this weekend against the Pioneers, but he wasn’t slated to be in the lineup for Saturday night’s game.
So he did what a lot of us might do with a night off: Instead of taking the team bus to the arena, he headed to a local establishment with a teammate and started crushing some wings.
But then one of his teammates got sick and was scratched from the lineup. Rieger was the next man up, but he was nowhere to be found because, of course, he was busy polishing off a pound of wings.
Per the Herald’s story:
Equipment manager Dan Johannson then FaceTimed Rieger. “We knew something was up,” Rieger said. He answered. Johannson asked Rieger if he was in the rink. Rieger said, no, they were at the Cherry Cricket, about five minutes away. “He told me, yeah, you’ve got to go out for warmups. Jonny’s not feeling good. I’m like, ‘Oh, okay.’ So, I ordered an Uber and paid our bill.”
Rieger arrived late for warmups, frantically put on his equipment, and then …
Of course. He scored his first career goal in the first period — a tally that stood as the game-winner in a 4-1 victory at Denver.
He was asked postgame if he’s going to eat a pound of wings before every game.
“Yeah, I’m going to have to see if they deliver,” said Rieger, a native of Saskatchewan.
Perfect. I’m casting Sandler as the equipment manager and Joe Keery as Rieger, and I’m calling it Stranger Wings unless you have a better idea.