If you missed it last week, here’s a link to our column last week that explains what “beerability” is. In sum, it’s the totally-made-up index you use to rate how much you’d love to sit around a pub for a dozen straight hours with a person. Laughs, great stories, and general likability all factor into “beerability.”

I’ll be doing one of these posts every week (most, least, players, teams and beyond) until we’ve ranked everyone who matters, because hey: this is a hockey, and being a good dude to sit down with over suds is important (it doesn’t necessarily have to be alcohol – pretty sure you could sit down with Shawn Thornton over green tea ice cream and still have an awesome night).

Beerability: The Top-10 Coaches

10. Dan Bylsma

I’ll admit, he’s doesn’t fit the purest definition of “beerability” – he’s kinda nerdy, but I think in an endearing way. But between his Cup win, his behind-the-scenes info on the Sid years, the personality we saw on 24/7 and his career in the NHL, I’m pret-ty sure the guy would be fun to go out with.

9. Kirk Muller

To go from an amazing NHL career to NHL coach takes a smart and talented person, which Muller clearly is. A name can get you a (created) job with your old organization, but not the head coach position (…I say as the Canadiens drool over Patrick Roy). I’d love to hear him get chatty.

8. Joel Quenneville

A reminder: Joel Quenneville rocks a wonderful, not-remotely-ironic mustache, and rocks it with pride. Can’t you just see the beer glistening off that beauty? He’s won a Stanley Cup. He’s exactly the type of likable, stern, and gruff dude you’d like to see loosen his tie and start the lips a-flappin’. He also kinda looks like a Muppet, which is sweet.

7. Kevin Dineen

Kevin Dineen is a badass. Not sure if you remember the “cranberry juice” scene in The Departed, but I could see Dineen making short work of any potential dust-up in a bar in a similar manner.

6. Mike Yeo

Ayy-Yeo! Anyone who knows hockey and people well enough to run an NHL team at 37 is a dude I want to hang out with. Like Dineen, I’m confident nobody is messing with us when he’s around. He won a Turner Cup in the IHL, a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh, and just generally seems like a cool cat.

5. Dale Hunter

Dale Hunter would be a front-runner in the game I just made up called “All 30 NHL Coaches Sit At A Table And Drink Beer Until There’s Only One Man Functioning Like A Normal Person.” While I’m sure he could drink me under the table, his NHL experience, coaching experience, and his general everyman way make him super interesting. I’d sure like to take the time to find out if I could hang.

4. Lindy Ruff

Lindy may be a tad gRuff (hahaha), but that’s mostly in his dealings with the media. He’s got a heart of gold, and like a few other names on this list, he’s a smart hockey name with a ton of NHL experience. I want to listen to Lindy get drunk-enough-to-sing-karaoke level drunk. (….then leave.)

3. Mike Babcock

Ah. The hardened, battle-scarred hero. Quite possibly the smartest man in the NHL. The only reason he’s not higher up is because I’ve heard the story of this alleged exchange with him.

In 2010, someone I know was at a party with Babcock. In the background, a TV was playing a re-run of a Stanley Cup Final game that the Babcock-coached Red Wings win. He’s watching intently. The Red Wings take a penalty.

“That’s a bullshit call.” - Genuinely angry.

“Mike, you guys win that game…and the series. Why are you even watching that?

“….Still. Total bullshit.” – Doesn’t flinch, continues watching the game.

Ooookay. Dude may take hockey a little too seriously.

2. John Tortorella

I mean, this one sort of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? You saw him on 24/7. You’ve seen him in press conferences. He barely holds back under those conditions. I’d love to see him a little loosened up, increasing the f-bomb-per-minute average to 11.6. Helps that he seems like a genuinely good guy, too.

1. Jack Capuano

Get outta he-ah if you think anyone other than Cappy should be number one. He’s everybody’s best friend in college. Or maybe Tawmmy from Quinzee, I dunno. He’s the guy who drinks a 30-pack (serious rival for Hunter), wears the box on his head, gives you a hug then starts chanting “Cappy’s number one! Cappy’s number one!”  I’d love to hang out with that guy.

(Honorable mention: the Ottawa Senators coach, Wilford Brimley.)


Like last week, I’m totally open to suggestions here. Did I nail the list? Who else would you have included?

Comments (19)

  1. I think you nailed it. Except Torts at #2 – he’d probably throw beer at you before he bought you one…

    And owing to his penchant for pulling goalies with 3:00 left in the period and the puck in his defensive zone you could probably get Cappy to buy you two beers before you’ve even finished your first.

  2. can we do a #1 and #1A like goalies for Capuano and Capuano’s Hair? =]

  3. For sure nailed it…As an Islanders fan I have a hatred for Dale Hunter but I would for sure want him on my side if anything ever went down in a bar and after watching that No offense show on versus, Cappy would be one hell of a time to hang out with

    Agree with Matt, I could just picture a beer bottle go whizzing by your head after saying something to torts haha

  4. What, no Barry Trotz?

  5. What, no Boudreau?

    • +1. And he’d not only buy the beer, but he’d make sure you always had a plate of wings nearby.

  6. Granted he is retired, but I want to sound what Drunk Jacques Lemaire sounds like trying to speak english. You can’t understand the guy as is.

  7. I’d have “Chuckles” Vigneault with at least an honorable mention.
    and now I’m thirsty. thanks a lot.

  8. how could you not want to have a beer with AV and his losange??

  9. This is a pretty solid list until Babcock. That is not a guy I would want to go have beers with. Maybe a cup of coffee or two to discuss the game, but I don’t see him being enjoyable to hang out with beyond serious hockey talk. I would put Hunter higher, but that’s probably because I have drank beers with him before, and you pretty much nailed the description of him.

    RC pointed out one the one big miss here, as Boudreau screams beerability. He loves to drink, eat and talk (his nickname is Gabby), plus played hockey in the minors forever, was in Slapshot, would have some great behind the scenes stories on Ovi and company, and since he is no longer the Caps coach, I could see him spilling a whole bunch of them (as opposed to Bylsma, who likely wouldn’t share anything negative about guys he is still coaching).

  10. Ok, not an NHLer, but an evening with P.K. O’Handley ( current head coach and GM of the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL and also a coach of US Junior A team ) has to rank as one of the all-time great hockey experiences. Wear a diaper, because you will pee your pants! Great hockey stories!

  11. Boudreau has to be near the top of the list. Tortorella is an asshat and would hardly be someone I would want to drink with.

  12. Not currently an NHL coach but i think Craig MacTavish would be awesome to get drunk with. Anyone that played in the NHL until 1999 without a helmet has to be one crazy MoFo!

  13. I think Sutter (Darryl or Brent) and Carlyle should be on this list. Both would open up considerably with a few pops under their belt.
    I also want to know the real reason Phaneuf got traded.

    Next you have to list GM Beerability…

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