Written by: Allie Engelhart, Sports Marketing Academy Intern
Hockey sticks rhythmically hit the ice while the cheers of a rowdy hockey team echo throughout the arena. The last two players are lined up across from the goalie, who is poised and ready at the net.... and then the shoot out begins! This is what the Goggin Ice Arena looks like at the end of a Thursday practice as the Orange/Lemon Eating Tradition takes place.
Coach Enrico Blasi brought the Orange/Lemon Eating Tradition to the RedHawk Hockey Team when becoming head coach in 1999. The tradition is a shooting drill that takes place every week before a big game.
How the drill works is every player begins by taking a shot on goal. Those who make the shot get to be in the orange line, those who miss are in the lemon line. The orange line proceeds to go first and all the players continue to take shots until they miss one and when that happens they have to leave the line. The last player standing, who hasn't missed a shot, is then rewarded with a snack after practice, an orange.
Next the lemon line gets to shoot. Every player continues shooting in a rotation and if a player makes a shot then they get to exit the line. The last player left to not make a goal is then required to take an entire bite out of a lemon, rind and all. Not only does the lemon winner get to eat a lemon but they also get the honor of wearing a bright yellow helmet to the next practice. This year the number 24 has been added to the back of the yellow helmet by Garrett Kennedy's teammates, as he has been a frequent lemon winner so far this season!
When talking with captain Steven Spinell he stated that the drill is always very exciting and when it gets down to the last few contenders for each the orange and lemon line, the team cheers louder. The coaches also are involved which adds to the fun of the drill.
Overall this is a fun tradition for the players and coaches. The tradition gets the team excited for a successful weekend series allowing them to practice while simultaneously growing as a team in the process.