Avalanche Star Erik Johnson Shares the Rules for Drinking With the Stanley Cup

The 34-year-old former number-one overall pick on the dos and don'ts of hanging out with sports' most iconic tropby

July 13, 2022 7:06 am
Erik Johnson of the Avalanche lifts the Stanley Cup in celebration
Erik Johnson knows what it is like to do a Stanley Cup stand in celebration.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Moments after scoring Colorado’s third NHL championship with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Avalanche hit the ice to celebrate with Lord Stanley’s Cup in the grasp of Avs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

With The Keeper of the Cup, Phil Pritchard, looking on (and likely shaking his head), the most-beloved trophy in all of pro sports remained in Aube-Kubel’s hands as he tumbled to the ice while attempting to join the rest of his teammates for a celebratory group photo. The Cup, which had been in Colorado’s possession for mere minutes, wound up with a dent.

It then wound up in the Avalanche locker room where veteran defenseman Erik Johnson, Aube-Kubel and the rest of their Colorado teammates used the Cup to do keg stands and sprayed Bud Light and champagne in celebration of their victory. Johnson, a 34-year-old former No. 1 overall pick who will serve as Bud Light’s first-ever Honorary Brewmaster this summer and create a special brew that will be available in limited-edition bottles for Colorado fans through the entire 2022-23 NHL season, and the Avs were allowed to party how they wanted to in the locker room and at a nearby banquet room with their families, but the next day Pritchard and his team revealed there are actually set guidelines for getting sauced with Lord Stanley.

“They sat us down and we got the ground rules after that. They said, ‘You can’t do keg stands off the Cup and people can’t lift the Cup or drink out of it unless someone who has won the Cup is lifting it with them or pouring if they’re drinking out of it,’” Johnson tells InsideHook. “Someone who’s won it has to pour it into their mouth. Those Cup keepers really are key because things could get out of hand for sure.”

A passenger on a seven-day bender that involved private parties, trips to favorite bars in Denver and a victory parade during which he led the crowd in a massive performance of Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” following the Game 6 win over Tampa, Johnson isn’t sure exactly how many beers he’s consumed since winning the Cup. Nor is he positive how many brewskies it can hold — but it’s a lot. “We asked that question and I forget the exact number,” he says. “It was a crazy number. More than 50 or something like that. Somewhere in the high double digits.”

Johnson may not be sure exactly how much liquid the Cup can hold, but he is positive hoisting it has taken its toll. “It’s a lot heavier than I expected,” he says. “I woke up one day and was like, ‘Damn, why are my biceps so sore? Why are my shoulders sore? Did I hurt something in Game 6?’ Nothing happened in that game and then it clicked. I’d been lifting the Cup over my head and holding it for people to drink out of. You hold a 35-pound weight for a couple of hours a day and you’re gonna get sore. I needed to do a workout to prepare for holding it.”

Now Johnson is busy preparing for his day with the Cup later this summer. Though he hasn’t got his plans finalized yet, the 14-year NHL veteran plans to spend the early part of the day taking the trophy to local children’s hospitals in Denver and showing it off to fans before heading to his home in Southern California for a party with his close friends and family. One of the Cup keepers, possibly even Pritchard himself, will be on hand as will Johnson’s personalized BL bottles.

“I’ve always dreamt of what I wanted to do with the Cup and now I get to plan it. Being on a Bud Light bottle isn’t something you dream of, but I guess it happens when you win a championship,” Johnson says. “In the past, I’ve typically been a guy who doesn’t love attention, but I’m just soaking it up and enjoying the moment. You never know if it’s gonna happen again. It’s surreal, right? Everyone knows the Stanley Cup and people go nutty for it. It’s the biggest celebrity around. I did have someone congratulate me on winning the Heisman Trophy though.”

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