New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is nothing if not enthusiastic. Like dancing at the team's post-Super Bowl party despite being hobbled by an ankle injury; Gronk said on Friday that he was just a guy having fun with family and friends.
Back in Nov. 2011, Gronkowski's enthusiasm manifested in a celebratory spike of the football after scoring a touchdown against the rival New York Jets. The No Fun League hit him with a $7,500 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Michael A. Mudd was not about to let that party pooping by the NFL stand. The president of the American Hockey League's Worcester Sharks, Mudd said the team would be "happy to reimburse Gronkowski to spike the puck" before their Feb. 24 game against the Providence Bruins.
Gronkowski accepted the invitation. On Friday night, in front of 10,170 fans at DCU Center — the largest crowd in the Sharks' six seasons at the arena — the Patriots star was driven out on the back of a GMC pickup truck and performed what may be the first ceremonial puck spike in AHL history.
Nice of them to keep the car running so the exhaust fumes clouded around Gronkowski. Must have been a nice buzz.
"New England Patriot fans, Worcester Sharks fans — you can't thank them enough for what they've done," a smiling Gronkowski said after spiking a puck at center ice prior to the start of the game, a play on his trademark end zone exploit that follows each touchdown he scores.
"They were loud, they were crazy, they were enthusiastic. It was wild, and I had a great time out there. It makes you appreciate (the support) and want to give back to them because they're always there."
If nothing else, Gronk has one over Terrell Owens at the moment. TO dropped the puck before a CHL Allen Americans game last week; Gronkowski, according to the Sharks, shattered it. Before, we assume, Mario Manningham miraculously caught all the pieces while keeping both feet in bounds …