Lake Erie Monsters have hockey playoffs’ greatest new tradition


The Lake Erie Monsters are the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. On Thursday night, the defeated the Ontario Reign in double-overtime to advance to the Calder Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

(Hooray for some semblance of palpable optimism about the future for Blue Jackets fans!)

Along the way, the Monsters have created one of the most memorable playoff traditions we’ve come across recently. Or at least among those that involve hockey players getting the graffiti on:

Seriously, how awesome is that? In a high-school pep rally kind of way?

This is the first year the Monsters have done the spray paint bit on the boards of their home rink for the postseason. Jeff Elston, the team’s communications coordinator, said the idea was came from someone in the team’s front office, and the players embraced it. “They were never in on the idea, but each player that has done it has enjoyed it big time,” he said

It’s typically the first star of the game who gets to ‘X’ out the number, but “we want to get a different player to do it each time, so we factor that in as well.”

In Game 4 last night, it was center Lukas Sedlak that did the honors, spray-painting over the No. 5 on the “Countdown to a Championship” as the Monsters advanced.

Pretty cool new tradition. And in the end, it’s either going to be an amazing visual when the Monsters X-out the final number while skating the Calder Cup or super depressing if, like, the No. 1 is the only one that doesn’t get spray-painted.


Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.