SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals are bucking a new online trend by turning a potentially dangerous game into an opportunity.
© Mikeal Thomas
Summerside Western Capitals forward Blake Millman (middle) is known for sticking up for his teammates on the ice. This time however the 20 year old is looking out for not only his teammates but local youth in the area. The organization has spoken out against the online drinking craze Neknomination where participants chug some sort of liquor and nominate two people to complete the task. The hockey team is encouraging youth and young adults to not participate in the dangerous fad. Also pictured is Three Oaks Student and Caps defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald (left) along with team Captain Jordan Buchanan. (left)
The online drinking game called Neknomination, which involves people posting videos of themselves chugging alcohol to their social media feed, has gone viral and raised concern with the team.
“The first time I heard or saw it was a week ago. I saw it once and I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was a one-time thing,” said general manager Pat McIver describing his initial reaction to finding out about the online drinking game. “As days went by it has grown out of control.”
He said his newsfeed was being covered with teenagers chugging beer or hard liquor or whatever they could get their hands on.
“I did a Google search on it and found out this has gone worldwide and has even accounted for a couple of deaths.”
The craze originated in Australia where the term ‘Neck’ is slang for drink, and the deaths McIver referred to happened in Ireland.
The game goes like this. Once a participant finishes their stunt they then ‘nominate’ two people to do the same within 24 hours and repeat the process.
The popularity of the game has spread, prompting concern from parents, educators and organizations like the Summerside Western Capitals.
McIver wasted no time talking to his players and staff about the social craze.
“With the amount of kids that are local who are participating in the game, it was something that I didn’t agree with for either our hockey club and players to participate in,” he added. “We wanted to nip it the bud before it started spreading through the dressing room.”
McIver wants his players and the organization to lead by example.
“These guys are role models to the younger kids in the community and that is not the image we want displayed to the public from any of our players or staff.”
Alberton native and Capitals forward Blake Millman, who is known for sticking up for his teammates, wants to make sure that kids, no matter if they are fans of the team or not, know they have a choice.
“There is no law saying you have to do it. If you feel peer pressure to do it maybe instead do a good deed like I saw the other night where someone donated $20 to a charity,” said Millman. “Myself, I don’t think I would do it even if the Western Capitals came out and said we could.”
Nicole Haire, principal at Three Oaks Senior High School, commended the Capitals on taking the lead on speaking out against the online drinking game and similar dangerous social media trends.
“It is really important. There are people in the community that kids look up to,” said Haire. “If I am a midget AAA player and I am aspiring to be on the Caps and I see people who I perceive to have their act together and be what I want to be saying these things, then that becomes the new cool.
“It’s so important when you’re in a public position that your are walking your talk so that people see what you’re doing what you stand for and you give them permission to do the same and I think that’s where the power is.”
McIver is hoping that this latest online fad is just that, and will fizzle out as quickly as it began, but in the meantime he did have some advice for his players and the youth of the area.
“I told my players and hope that local kids realize that some decisions you make can stick with you for a very long time. Why not make sure that those decisions are positive ones instead of something like that.”