Beerability (BEER-ah-bill-ih-tee): 1) a measurement that quantifies how much fun it would be to sit at a pub with a person and drink a bunch of beer. They should seem likable. Subjective.

2) What Bill Guerin has in spades.


Fittingly, it was over beers with a few co-workers where the question was posed: which NHL teams and players have the most “beerability,” and who has the least? Our content manager Derek Snider proposed that the Vancouver Canucks have the least beerability in the League, so we started to break it down. Turns out he might have been right about that.

Name a handful of guys on the Canucks that’d be fun to sit down at an Irish pub with for hours and just BS: ……


…..maybe Kevin Bieksa? Okay, one.

Maybe Chris Higgins? By beerability standards, that’s reaching.

Annnnd we’re already out of names with positive beerability rankings on that team (contrary to the wonky logic of Pro Hockey Talk’s Jason Brough, who insists that the Sedins have beerability. He does not understand beerability).

Fittingly, their Stanley Cup Final foe, the Boston Bruins, probably have the most.

For example, you can’t spawn a “Shit Shawn Thornton Says” tumblr and not be perfect for a sitdown at a pub. Tim Thomas has high beerability. Chris Kelly has some. Ference, Lucic, Horton, Lucic, Campbell, Boychuk….this team has depth in a number of ways – I’d say they all have positive ratings.

So without further ado, here’s my top-10 beerability list for individual players – next week we’ll look at teams as a whole. I’ve also added some honorable mentions and notes as well. Keep in mind that I don’t know every player in the league personally, so the more well-known guys have an edge.

Beerability Top 10: Players

10. Mike Rupp

Mike Rupp is an old school guy who’s played pro hockey for over a decade, touching eight different teams including the Danbury Trashers of the UHL during the lockout (I’ve heard they paid under the table quite handsomely that year). There’s a 4000% chance Rupp has a ton of stories, and I’m ballparking the number of beers he needs to drink to get a buzz is 206.

9. Mike Knuble

There’s sort of a theme that runs between a number of players on this list - combine a long career with a certain level of grit and a decent personality…. boom. You strike me as a fun guy to go out for pints with.

8. Douglas Murray

Murray cracks the top-10 for being A) likable, B) a bruiser on the ice, and C) being an actual viking. I feel like we’d go out and drink mead out of mugs with lids.

7. Tim Thomas

Thomas is a no-brainer pick - he’s had a roller coaster career (interesting), he’s an opinionated guy (interesting), he carries a happy demeanor (happy!)….there’s just no way that doesn’t end up being a good time. Judging by his mustache, I’m guessing he drinks PBR.

6. Adam Burish

I played against Burish in college, and have pretty good idea of how funny his chirps are. Hell, we heard him call Chris Pronger an idiot the second after winning the Cup. Combine that with a Madison, Wisconsin drinking education, and you’re hanging with a seasoned pro.

5. Mike Commodore

Remember his picture with the money? Any guy who ends up in that situation probably isn’t afraid of a good time.

4. Jarome Iginla

The likability factor is strong with this one. Take that, then add the “no reporters around to force a guy to say the right thing” factor, and I’m personally guaranteeing you a good time.

3. Scott Gomez

If you’ve never heard Gomez and his subtle little barbs, you’re missing out. Gomez is the rare one on this list that I’ve actually seen him in action (Alaska during the lockout). If he’s around, everybody’s having a great time.

2. Brian Boyle

I mean…you saw him as Buddy the Elf on 24/7, correct? He’s larger than life.

And as I mentioned earlier in this post….

1. Shawn Thornton

“I’ve always been a social coordinator first and foremost.” is a quote of his, leading me to believe I got number one bang on. A live version of his tumblr page plus a few beers? Yep, I’m in.


* I didn’t intentionally avoid European players – you’ll note that Douglas Murray is the only player not from North America – it just sort of happened. Honestly, that’s probably because I think of European players as more intelligent, and jamming alcohol in your body isn’t.

* As I mentioned beside Knuble, it really does seem to be a certain type of player that has beerability. They’re all dudes you’d want on your team in playoffs, that’s for sure.

* At #11, I’d like to add every player from the Maritimes in the NHL. Those guys rule, and all have crazy beerability.

* Tim Thomas would probably also be the only goalie on the list if it were a top-100.


* I know, I know – Paul Bissonnette. But nope. BizNasty has clubability – you’d like him to organize your night in the VIP section of some place too loud to talk, but sitting and chatting….it’s just not there for me.

* Patrick Kane – Obviously he likes a good night out, but did you see NHL: 36? He embodies “uninteresting” until he’s wasted enough to punch a cab driver.

* Tyler Seguin – Too young, too clubby.

* Mike Richards – While he’s not afraid of a good time, I feel like he’s more the guy who would take you to some celebrity’s hush-hush house party in Hollywood.


* Ilya Bryzgalov – As someone said when this initially came up, I think he’s more a guy you’d do hallucinogens with.

* Alex Ovechkin – He’s not afraid to party, but an Irish Pub is hardly the same setting as a boat in Russia with models and a speedo.


So that’s your top-10 beerability list! Who’d I miss, and who got too much love?

Comments (80)

  1. I’d want a quiet non discript guy, to see if a beer or 20 can open him up and get him to start punching random people. Someone like Mikko Koivu or something.

    • You missed max talbot. did you watch him on the 24/7 last year? this guy is pure beerability

      • I immediately thought of Talbot, too — but really it would have to be a nightclub in Montreal, not so much an Irish Pub. Club-ability, but in spades.

        But Scott Hartnell would be awesome, and I’d say he leads the Flyers in beerability.

  2. I’m definitely no Canucks fan, but you don’t think Kesler would be fun to hang out with at a pub?

    • He has potential, for sure. I’ll give him a positive beerability +/- as well.

      • There is no way Kesler is the Canuck I would drink beer with. I’m a fan but Bieksa and Hansen are clearly the fun guys.

      • I’m pretty sure Kesler would just sit and bitch about everything that’s gone wrong in his life. The guy never comes across as happy or fun and isn’t well traveled enough to have many good stories. He’s a downer when just watching an interview on T.V. I think he would have a hugely negative beerability.

        • I don’t know, I hate the Canucks, but a dude who gets a lot of delight out of Keslurking his teammates interviews has at least a little bit of fun in him.

      • Justin, if I could add an old-timers, retired character to this list, I woud love to give beerability props to Battlin’ Billy Smith. There has got to be a ton of stories to sit down and listen to at your local pub with Bill……

  3. Dont ya want Prust along with Boyle? They seem like a classic duo. And from 24/7, he was the one Ranger who seemed fun but was not featured enough.

    And Jim Slater of the Jets and Mile Weaver of the Panthers make my list. Michigan State boys who both enjoy a night out with the fellas.

  4. Happy to test your theory with #2. As long as he does the talking until I’m drunk enough to get some words out, at which point I’m probably just asking him to marry me and then it gets awkward and he sneaks out the back door. *sigh*

    Had to sit and think on the goalies one. Martys Biron and Brodeur would be high on my list. By all accounts, friendly as all get out and have been around the block a few times each.

    • As a Pens fan, I would propose Marc-Andre Fleury as a goalie to drink beer with. He has a goofy smile, and always seems to be up to some sort of mischief!

    • Josh Harding would be fun to hang out with in a bar. The guy’s got a mullet for crying out loud!

  5. Maritimes; no clubs, all pubs.

    Ps. I can’t see Crosby being that fun to have a beer with.

  6. I’ve heard some stories about Hall and Eberle never leaving each others side for anything … anything at all.

    Could be interesting … disturbing?

  7. I think you missed one. Colby Armstrong, though he’d probably get hurt somehow.

  8. I guess he’s not technically an NHL’er right now, but I would rank Sean Avery up there.

    As far as goalies go, Lundqvist would surely make my top 100 list.

  9. How about Trevor Gillies? For as much of an animal he is on ice, i bet he would be someone you’d like to have a drink with

    • Yeah I met Trevor once. He’s an awesome guy when he’s not breaking someone’s face. I said he should break Avery’s nose and his reply was ‘YEAH! That would be fun. ‘ What’s not to like about that.

  10. Jarome is interesting … at 35, does he ever turn off the PR friendly smile? At 21 (ish?) he swam in a frozen lake for $CDN100 , which at the time I think was worth $1.50, so there’s that.

    Kesler and Hartnell were a miss.

    Sid the Kid is a Maritimer … I have my doubts.

    Your biggest miss though has to be Joe Thornton. That guy could be number 1.

  11. Have to put Otter in there. Born in PEI and raised in Windsor. He’d be a blast at the local watering hole.

    • I instantly thought of Ott too. I realize most around the league would want to slip him a roofie … or something stronger, but the guy is so upbeat and personable. And from all his shenanigans I’m sure he has some great stories. Course you might need to cut back a beer or two just so you could still defend yourself if he says the wrong thing to someone else!

  12. Brilliant idea for a list … something I’ve talked about with buddies many times.

    Pronger would be a beauty … played on both sides of the leagues and both countries … I’m guessing many stories

  13. Definitely with the Maritimes, they’re hilarious, sober. Throw in a few pints and it gets even better.
    I’d want to sit down with some of the old guys and listen to the minor league stories. I’m sure there’s some goodies.
    One guy I know played junior in the American midwest and said there was a huge protest at the arena one day because the city passed a bylaw that firearms weren’t allowed in arenas anymore.

  14. I actually had Hartnell on my list of 15 I pared this down from… Colby Armstrong and Brandon Prust also got serious looks, to go along with Max Talbot, Marty St. Louis, Tanner Glass, Andrew Ladd and a few others.

  15. Douglas Murray is also partly responsible for this :

  16. @Hank

    As an Edmontonian, I can tell you that Eberle and Hall-along with Whitney are regulars at the Bar, Club and Pub scene in town. Hall and Eberle are always out on the town together.

    Sidenote: What is the over/under on the amount of alcohol Douglas Murray can consume in one evening?

  17. Totaly missed the boat on number 1 overall. Brent Fricken Burns. Dude has everything you want. He seems like a maniac, has a fricken zoo in his house. Think of all stories that with a snake almost eating his baby.

    • Brent Burns scares the life out of me because I’m not so sure he’s stable. Feel like I’d end up at the bottom of a well.

  18. What, no Turco?!

    One thing to add, over here in the UK it is/was quite common for players to mingle with fans in the arena bar(s) after the game. Is that common in North America?

    • Not at all. Especially in the really high profile cities that would never happen…too much hero worship from fans and scrutiny from the media surrounding the guys. It’s just not possible to have that happen and not be mobbed.

  19. This “Beerability” scale got me thinking about an All Time Greats Beerability Team, that list is much harder to make. Who is possibly number one overall?

    • No doubt, thought the same thing myself. Derek Sanderson came to mind, as did Cheesy, Cashman and Stan Jonathan. I’m sure Justin has heard stories galore from the Islanders. Guys like Howatt, Gillies and Nystrom would be a hoot. Billy Smith too.

    • A guy I worked with went to college in Boston during the early 70s, he said he’d see Orr out all the time, drank with him a couple times, and he was a shitshow waiting to happen, could pull broads like wilt chamberlain, even set the guy up with a couple floozies (insert playmaker joke here..), and he was a boozebag if ever there was one, i’d lop off a nut to have a couple brewskis with Bobby Orr.

  20. In re: Trevor Gillies – I’ve not met Trevor, but I have hung out with his brother Nathan. I don’t know if they’re a funny family or if Nate got all of the cool, but I’d bet Trevor is worth a beer or two at least. Speaking of the Nate Gillies era here in Charlotte, we had a guy named Mark Lee (in Finland now). I never drank with Mark, but he is a Newfoundlander and once poured me enough Sam Adams Winters that I had to boot and rally before I left the charity bartending event. True story (that no one besides the likely frightened guy in the stall next to me knows about).

    If I had to pick an NHLer I knew for sure would be a blast: Steve MacIntyre. Nicest guy you’ll ever meet and loves to have a good time.

  21. I find it pretty funny that there are so few Europeans, as we all know Russians like vodka, kinda the same with the Finns. And as a Swede, I can tell you that we are drinking pretty much everything. When I played youth sports, we had hungover players from when I was 14 and up on practices…

  22. I know a few people who went to school with Drew Doughty and said he was a riot. Couple stories about the weird stuff he would say, and more-so what he would do in classes makes me think he would be a great hit to share pints with. Thoughts?

  23. I’ve personally had beers with Jeff Carter and Dan Carcillo, back when Carter was busy slaying ever coed at the Jersey shore. They’re A LOT of fun to hang with. Very unassuming, and a real good time.

    Related to the all-time list, my brother has EPIC stories of seeing Lindros out at bars while he was at Temple. Lindros owned the bar. Owned it.

  24. I agree with most of your list, though I can think of some omissions.

    First, and I’m guessing you intentionally left coaches off the list, John Tortorella.

    As far as players,

    Cal Clutterbuck
    Steve Ott
    Ryan Kesler
    Max Talbot
    Steve Downie
    Scott Hartnell

    Just to name a few.

  25. Since you mentioned Bill Guerin, I have to say Eddie Belfour. Just bring bail money.

  26. I’d like to hang with Matt Moulson.

  27. Dustin Byfuglien, On a boat.

  28. Screw the Irish pub, of course your gonna go there with the Bruins. that’s like asking who has the most ‘tacobility’, a Mexican or Vietnamese person.

    • I’m pretty sure the Avs would be the most likely choice for an Irish pub. O’Reilly, O’Byrne, Malone, McCleod, McClement, O’Brien.

  29. I’d have to go with Turco as well

  30. “All Finnish players look like women – that’s why they’re so angry.”

    ~Shawn Thornton

  31. I think your formula boils down to an inverse correlation between beerability and Swedishness.

  32. I am apalled that noone mentioned the late Bobby Probert….the chances of anyone picking a fight with you would be slim and plus Bob would have some of the craziest ass stories ever. RIP Probie

    • I remember Probert after an alumni game in Northern Ontario. Doin’ lines, poundin’ back real beer, (ie Canadian beer,) and banging the dirtiest native chick in town. Not saying I’d be down to go down on the native girl, but anyone with cred who’d fuck that low would be a hoot to hang out with!

  33. i would have to pick pavel datsyuk because he is so funny

  34. For the all-time beerability list. I met Lanny MacDonald once and the guy is funny as hell. Joey Kocur, Adam Graves, and anyone from the Hartford Whalers!

  35. i had a great time with robyn regher a few times. one time he put on our bouncer shirt and would jump people from behind and pretend to choke them out. priceless beerability :D

  36. Marty Biron would be a trip. He’s always smiling and having a good time. He’s been around and I’m sure he’s got some stories.

  37. He’s “retired” now but it’s recent enough that Andrew Peters should be #1. Even crazy Marty Biron (my #2) bows down to him.

  38. If you’re accepting retired players, how about Mike Modano, Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick?

    • If we’re talking retired players I would love to grab a beer with Phil Esposito. After hearing him talk during the Summit Series interview after the Winter Classic, he would be by far my #1 choice. I couldn’t stop laughing.

    • Dennis Hull – hands down. ‘nuf said.

  39. Hal Gill..and if were talking all time Bill Guerin. Both big guys who could pound some beers with personalities that could only mean a good time

  40. There’s more to beer-a-bility than being likable though. They have to be an intriguing, funny, lively type of guy. Characters, I guess you could say.

    For example, thinking of my own team, Sami Salo and Manny Malhotra are very well liked guys. But they don’t have that beer-a-bility. There are other good guys on the team, like Hamhuis or Booth or Edler or Raymond. Same issue.

    Bieksa though would be great fun. He’s likable and a character.

  41. Yep, you have to have Turco in there. His little head shake at Pierre McGuire alone gives him top five billing in my book.

  42. marty biron has to be up there too

  43. You were doing fine until you mentioned the Kane/Cab thing. That’s so old and unnecessary. It took the polish right off of the article I was reading. Am I a Kane fan? No, not at all.

  44. As for former players, I would think Kasparaitis and McCabe would have high “Beerability”. Current players…definately Tim Thomas (especially if he brings “Peggy”), Shawn Thornton.

  45. Steve Ott and Adam Burish together! Talk about the gift of gab.

  46. Saw Commodore plenty in North Dakota -not in class, of course. At UND hockey players are the BMOC, and Commodore was the HHPIC (Head Hockey Player in Charge). His orange fro ruled the night.

  47. I would rather go for multiple root canals than have a beer with any Bruins player. What a classes bunch they are. When I seen the title of this article I immediatley thought of how Shawn Thornton would be my last choice for sure as he is such an A-hole. LOL…he ends up being #1 on this list. Pretty sad!

  48. Phil Kessel.

    It’d be like dealing with Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, but as a hockey player from Wisconsin and nowhere near as annoying.

  49. In the 80′s I was in a cowboy bar in a not too nice part of town here in Vancouver, with a bunch of friends. The Canucks were playing the New York Islanders that night, and around midnight both teams showed up. They got tables in seperate parts of the bar, but mingled for sure after a few drinks.

    At one point the Islander table was all up dancing, so I went over and found Brian Trottier sitting by himself. I sat down and drank with him for a half hour or so. This is when the Islanders were crazy good and Trottier filled me in on all the players and introduced me to several.

    Met several of the Canucks too, and realized they are just people like us. Details are a little fuzzy on who I met or spoke to because we were drinking heavily.

  50. was a regular at Koo Koo Bananas back in the day…..good times, good times. Also most of the durham region guys have high beerabitlty rates based solely on personal experience, unless the wives are around that is.

  51. cam jannsen without a doubt

  52. This list is ridiculous, I bet the guys who wrote it probably did so with a Molson in their hand instead of a something from Northumberland or Black Oak. Those from the Nordic countries would be awesome to drink with, how can you not have a single Finnish/Swedish person on there? Especially the Finnish, I don’t know any of them, but I have heard they are amazing people to drink with.

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