How Tyler Toffoli learned to embrace his inner cupcake (Photos)

LOS ANGELES – Tyler Toffoli’s goal scorer's hands failed him on a Wednesday afternoon in downtown LA.

He simply could not properly put frosting on top of a cupcake.

“This isn’t going,” said Toffoli, who leads the Los Angeles Kings with 30 goals.

The Kings returned to Los Angeles at 2 a.m. that morning after a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames, which was the second part of a back-to-back, and Toffoli probably wasn’t in top form.

But he doggedly worked the frosting, determined to embrace a side of him that’s gone viral this season. Toffoli was designing a cupcake that will be sold at Sprinkles Cupcakes from April 15-30 with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Kings Care Foundation.

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“It’s definitely interesting learning how to make the cupcake and frosting it rather than just eating it,” the 23-year-old Toffoli said.

Last year, Kings fans picked up this strange obsession with Toffoli when he referenced his love of cupcakes during a few interviews. This year, they've taken it to a new level. Whenever Toffoli scores, there’s cupcake references all over social media. A fan also keeps a cupcake goal tracker for Toffoli.

"Even though he is a legitimate scoring threat on a nightly basis, Toffoli has the face of a young boy that just loves cupcakes. And I think Kings fans and the organization have embraced that," said The Royal Half blog.

Instead of running from this odd pairing of his hockey persona and junk food cravings – not a lot of NHL players would want to be nicknamed ‘cupcake’ by fans – Toffoli doesn’t mind it.

“I mean, you can never be too mad when you’re talking about cupcakes,” Toffoli said.

Photo of Tyler Toffoli and Candace Nelson frosting a cupcake at Sprinkles via Josh Cooper.
Photo of Tyler Toffoli and Candace Nelson frosting a cupcake at Sprinkles via Josh Cooper.

So when Jennifer Pope, the team’s senior director for Kings Care and community relations, called Toffoli to make the appearance, he didn’t scoff.

“I said absolutely, it’ll be pretty awesome,” Toffoli said. “And for the cause it’s going towards it’ll be pretty incredible and I hope it does well.”

Toffoli has turned into one of the more civic-minded players on the Kings, rarely turning down community appearances. He doesn’t see them as a burden, but more of a way to experience new parts of his new home area and in the process help a good cause.

“It’s fun and we get the opportunity to do fun things like this, going to Sprinkles – one of the most well-known cupcake bakeries in America,” Toffoli said. “It was fun to try to make one and to get my own cupcake out there for the Kings Care Foundation is pretty great.”

Truth be told, Toffoli doesn’t really know how to bake cupcakes. And they’re generally frowned upon as far as a dietary item for a professional athlete.

“I wouldn’t really want to know how to make them then I would try to make them myself at home because I would eat them, and I don’t want that in my house,” Toffoli said. “I have to portion myself out. I don’t think our trainer would be thrilled if we’re eating cupcakes every day.”

After perfecting his technique with Candace Nelson, the pastry chef and founder of Sprinkles and sampling a few flavors Toffoli settled on a Belgian dark chocolate cake topped with creamy vanilla frosting and colorful rainbow sprinkles. This included a ‘Happy Tyler’ emoji of his face.

Photo of Tyler Toffoli's cupcake at Sprinkles via Josh Cooper
Photo of Tyler Toffoli's cupcake at Sprinkles via Josh Cooper

Said Toffoli after he finally figured out how to frost a cupcake, “Boom, Happy Tyler … killed it.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!