The NHL Alumni Association has collaborated with J.P. Wiser’s on a limited-edition Alumni Whisky Series. Together we have selected 12 NHL Alumni members, which have each blended a special single-run whisky to tell their hockey stories through great Canadian whisky. Each whisky was crafted to match their playing style and notable achievements.
The first wave began with Guy Lafleur, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. Guy Lafleur, a five-time Stanley Cup champion and the first player in NHL history to score at least 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons is a Montreal Canadiens’ icon. He holds the records for most points in a single season (136), all-time points (1246) and is tied for most goals in a season (60) for the Canadiens. To allude to this great achievement, his whisky is 100% corn and aged 10 years in Speyside, bourbon and rum barrels before being bottled.
Being Toronto’s first overall pick in the 1985 draft, Wendel Clark’s 13 years in Toronto included countless special moments. During the 1991-92 season, he became the Leaf’s 21st Captain. The following year, Toronto would go on to set a team record at the time with 44 wins and 99 points. His number was retired by the Leafs in 2016 and paying tribute to Toronto, his 41.6% ABV (homage to the cities area code) whisky is bold and tenacious like his play.
The last player in the first release is Lanny McDonald. Some of McDonald’s achievements in the game still stand today. During the 1982-83 season, he set a Calgary Flames scoring record with 66 goals in a single season, a record that still stands today. In 1986, he was the co-captain of a Stanley Cup winning team. His efforts off the ice didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named the inaugural recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his work with the Special Olympics. McDonald’s well-rounded game is expressed through his 9-year aged, virgin oak barrel whisky.
The second wave consists of Paul Coffey, Larry Robinson and Darryl Sittler. Paul Coffey’s 21-year NHL career nets over 1,400 games played and 1,500 points. The three-time Norris Trophy winner sits second in NHL history for career goals, assists and points by a defenseman. He also holds the record for most goals by a defenceman in a single season with 48. His 48% ABV whisky honours that achievement and is aged seven years, the number he was wearing when he scored the record-setting number.
The second player in the run is Larry Robinson. The Winchester Ontario native spent 20 years in the league, 17 of those playing with the Montreal Canadiens. During that time, he amassed six Stanley Cup wins. The Hall of Fame member played in 10 All-Star games and won two Norris Trophies. To represent his career, the 2-grain whisky was aged in six different barrels for six years and serves as a reminder of his six Stanley Cups.
Rounding up the second release is Darryl Sittler. Holder of the most points in a single game (10) with six goals and four assists. Sittler was a proud Maple Leaf, captaining the team for six seasons. In his first season as captain, Sittler became the first Leaf to get 100 points. He also set a career-best in goals (45) assists (72) and points (117) during the 1977-78 season. A member of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s ‘Legends Row’, Sittler’s 4-grain whisky is aged in Canadian and bourbon barrels for 10 years.
The most current trio of players is Dave Keon, Yvan Cournoyer and Mark Messier. Dave Keon had an extraordinary start to his career, winning the Calder Trophy in 1960-61 and winning the Stanley Cup each year for the next 3 seasons. Keon also won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the 1966-67 season and won the Cup again that season to post four career total cup wins. The six-year team captain won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy two years in a row (1962-1963) and was named to the All-Star game eight times. Keon’s number now hangs from the rafters of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, as it was retired in 2016 by the team. The 45% ABV whisky pays homage to the 45 points he notched his first year and is aged 14 years for his playing number. His well-balanced whisky is the result of four different barrels representing his cup wins.
Next is Yvan Cournoyer. Hailing from Drummondville, Quebec, Cournoyer spent 16 seasons in the NHL, each season with the Montreal Canadiens. He won an astounding 10 Stanley Cups, which sits third for all-time as a player. During the 1973 cup finals, Cournoyer put up a career best of 15 goals and 10 assists and won the Conn Smythe in the process. Cournoyer was the team captain from 1976-79 and he scored 25 or more goals for 11 consecutive seasons. To honour his historical career, his whisky is aged 12 years for his playing number 12.
Finishing the set is Mark Messier. The six-time Stanley Cup winner is the only player to caption two professional teams to championships. Messier played in 15 All-Star games and sits second in career playoff points (295) and most regular season games played including playoffs (1992). Messier has played the third-most seasons in the history of the NHL at 25. ‘The Moose’, as he was known for his tough play had a career-best 129 points during the 1989-90 season. He also is second all-time in NHL history for shorthanded goals at 694. Messier’s 3-grain whisky uses Speyside barrels for an 11-year age to match his number 11, his hockey number that’s retired by both the New York Rangers and the Edmonton Oilers.
These special whiskies from J.P. Wiser’s are a true testament to the careers of the NHL Alumni members who helped put their stories in the glass bottles to share with the rest of Canada. Their accomplishments can be enjoyed by many through the flavours and complex profiles of a truly Canadian spirit. Stay tuned for an upcoming Wave 4.