The Carolina Hurricanes are not the first NHL team to hand out a pro wrestling championship belt with their team logo on it to deserving players.
The Chicago Blackhawks had one for years. And remember this awesome belt from the Phoenix Coyotes, inspired by wrestling fans Jason LaBarbera and Keith Yandle? Both belts were handed out to the game MVP, who then handed it over to the next game MVP, and so on.
There are differences between those straps and the Hurricanes’ new championship belt, which was awarded by coach Bill Peters to Andrej Nestrasil on Saturday and then subsequently given to defenseman John-Michael Liles. The Canes’ belt has “Est. 1997" on it, for example. It has messages like “Team First” and the cryptic “P2W” etched onto it. (No, it doesn’t mean “play to win.”)
But the main difference is that the Hurricanes have absolutely no [expletive] clue what the belt is supposed to represent, or why they hand it out.
You see, the Hurricanes already have an award for their game MVPs: The clichéd fireman’s hat, which admittedly looks adorable when situated atop the mop of Eddie Lack:
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) December 28, 2015
So who gets the belt? Hurricanes website writer Michael Smith attempted to suss this out, speaking to Liles.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ve really narrowed down what the belt stands for. Given that I won it last night, the rumor is that it’s for the best 35-year-old in the game. I pretty much locked that up,” said Liles.
And yet a 24-year-old player won it first.
“Therein lies the quandary, I guess,” Liles continued. “Right now it’s a combination of, I believe, hardest working or laying it on the line or something. There’s a lot of speculation going around.”
Smith asked Nestrasil, the aforementioned 24 year old, what the belt meant.
“The fireman’s helmet for me means work ethic. That should be a work ethic award,” he said. “The belt, I don’t know, someone who gets a hat-trick or wins the game. We’ll see.”
So an early congratulations to the next recipient of the storied Carolina Hurricanes championship belt, a player we assume worked hard or laid it on the line or scored a hat trick or had the game-winning goal. Or something.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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