The week is just beginning, but it’s already an historical one for the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s men’s hockey team. On Monday, the 4-0-0 Mavericks found themselves atop the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll for the first time ever.
On Friday, they’ll introduce the greatest in-arena food delivery service of all-time.
Eric Newton is the owner of Omaha’s Voodoo Taco and the taco cannon was born from a simple vision.
“I was just thinking could I shoot tacos out of them, so I got online. I was looking around and figured I’d buy a cannon and fire tacos out of it,” Newtown told Puck Daddy on Monday. “I’ve seen it done at Nebraska games with hot dogs, so I was thinking it wouldn’t be hard to do with a taco.”
The idea came to Newton before hooking up with Nebraska-Omaha, so when the school asked him if he had anything he wanted to do to help promote their new partnership, he brought up the taco cannon.
Newton will get finally a chance to show off his baby this weekend when Nebraska-Omaha plays its first games at their new 7,900 seat Baxter Arena.
The taco cannon story went viral in April when Newton and Voodoo Taco introduced it to the world following the partnership with UNO. Four days before the big debut, he’s feeling excited and nervous, eager to live up to the six months of hype.
When it wasn’t with him or in one of Voodoo Taco’s locations for customers to take photos with, Newton has fired the taco cannon at a few local concerts, but this weekend’s two-game series against Air Force will be the first big test.
Newton will head to Baxter Arena on Wednesday for a test run where he says he’ll fire around 100 tacos to get a good idea of how things will go once it’s showtime. During a regular home game, he’ll be on the ice shooting between three and a dozen tacos for now. The numbers might increase if the taco launching is successful.
And don’t worry, there’s a decent chance that taco you catch will be in good shape if you’re lucky enough to catch one this weekend.
“I’m wrapping them up pretty good,” Newton said. “They might be pretty hard to get to so I’m including a little gift card with them. I’m [also] putting a disclaimer [saying] they’ll still taste good, but they did get fired out of a taco cannon, so here’s a little gift card to come over to the restaurant and eat, so if they don’t want to unwrap it they don’t feel cheated. I don’t blame them if they won’t unwrap them.”
“I had [the taco cannon] re-engineered a bit so that I could adjust the pressure and shoot it at different lengths because it was coming in pretty fast if you saw that Ryan Massa video. I think some people were worried.”
(Despite a little chorizo in the eye, Massa was fine.)
In the days and weeks following the April news splash, Newton was contacted by teams in the NBA, MLS and even Australia, where he advised them on where to get their own cannon.
Should the opening weekend go well, Newton has another vision on an even bigger way to distribute tacos to the Baxter Arena crowd.
That’s right. Newton has talked to the school about installing a taco turret that he designed on the rink’s ice resurfacer. Surely, there are some reservations, no?
“Oh, they have lots of concerns about that, trust me. We’ve have had many meetings,” Newton said. “I can’t promise them anything. I’ll do my best.”
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