Tied up with four points a piece, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens headed into overtime on Saturday night for five minutes of three-on-three hockey. But in just under a minute of overtime, the Detroit Red Wings’ Jake Walman ended the game with a slapshot and the griddy to celebrate.
Walman’s celly — celebration in hockey speak — is a favorite of Fortnite players and athletes alike; though the move originally went viral on TikTok in 2019, Fortnite added it to the game in 2021. It was actually Walman’s second time taking the griddy to the rink; the first was in 2022, when the Red Wings came back from a 4-0 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Walman, again, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to win 5-4. Not only was it a historic win for the Red Wings — overcoming that huge deficit — but it was an iconic moment for the National Hockey League. We’ll always remember the first griddy on ice.
The first griddy in NHL historypic.twitter.com/WlLYHKtLoU
— Overtime (@overtime) December 29, 2022
Asked about how it felt to griddy off the ice after the game against the Canadiens, Walman let the world know he’s always playing Fortnite: “The new Fortnite season is out,” Walman said in a postgame interview. “Add me up. I’m always on.” Previously, after his first griddy, he explained the dance, letting the interviewer know both little kids and his teammates enjoy it.
Fortnite is hugely popular around the world, and its massive player base includes tons of professional hockey players. In 2018, Sports Network correspondent Rick Westhead reported that some Ontario Hockey League players were “advised to scrub Fortnite references from social media accounts,” because some NHL teams think video games are a distraction. That hasn’t stopped professional hockey players from playing while still remaining very good at hockey; back in 2018, the Carolina Hurricanes even visited Fortnite maker Epic Games as a team.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) August 28, 2018
In 2020, several different Fortnite tournaments were set up: Twitch Rivals SuperGames pitted athletes from several sports against professional gamers, while the National Hockey League Players’ Association held the NHLPA Open just for hockey pros. Vince Dunn and Jordan Kyrou, both on the St. Louis Blues at the time, won both events, the later of which was a trio with Robert Thomas. (Kyrou and Thomas are still on the Blues, but Dunn now plays for the Seattle Kraken.)
Of particular interest to me, a diehard Bruins fan, Boston Bruins superstar David Pastranak streams Fortnite on Twitch; in a video from a broadcast last year, he plays with fellow Bruin Jake DeBrusk and former Bruin Taylor Hall, who’s now on the Chicago Blackhawks.
The question remains, though: How good is Walman at Fortnite? 1v1 me, bro.
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