Most hockey players quench their thirst with water when coming off the ice. Zachary L’Heureux is not most hockey players.
A video of the 19-year-old Halifax Mooseheads forward drinking mustard on the bench has been viewed over 100,000 times on social media after the official QMJHL account posted it to their Twitter account this week.
In the video taken on Sunday during Game 2 of the QMJHL semifinal between the Mooseheads and Sherbrooke Phoenix, L’Heureux — a first-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators and well-known hockey agitator — takes a swig out of a small bottle of mustard and immediately displays a look of sheer agony before handing it back someone on the bench.
The footage of the moment appeared on the jumbotron during the game at the Scotiabank Centre, which was met with cheers from fans.
The six-second video has caused dozens of Twitter users to chime in. Most replies featured one common question: “Why?”
It didn’t take too long for users to point out that there may be a health benefit to drinking mustard.
“In case anyone is wondering, it’s to prevent cramping,” wrote one user.
In an interview with Global on Wednesday, L’Heureux said drinking mustard out of the bottle doesn’t always taste the best, but it “gets the job done” when dealing with leg cramps.
“Really in the moment when the cramps come around, I think that mustard is the thing that gets at it right away and makes them go away, it’s definitely what works the best for me,” he said.
Speaking from his team’s hotel, L’Heureux said he’s been receiving lots of texts from friends and family since the video began trending online.
“Some of them are knowing what’s going on and others are really confused on why I’m eating mustard on the bench,” he smiled.
Scott MacIntosh, communications manager for the Mooseheads, confirmed the team regularly keeps mustard nearby to prevent players from experiencing leg cramps.
The team has since posted a video on Wednesday of the Montreal native talking about his mustard shot.
L’Heureux is currently in Quebec with the Mooseheads, who play Sherbrooke in Game 4 of their playoff series on Thursday night.
When asked how his team is planning to keep up the momentum following their 5-2 win on Tuesday, he offered some insight into his game-day philosophy.
“I think we got to keep working hard, keep skating,” L’Heureux continued, “and as long as our mustard bottles are filled and our legs are not cramping, we’re giving ourselves a good chance against this team.”
According to an article in Healthline, the science behind the effectiveness of using mustard as a remedy for cramps still isn’t fully understood, but some have theorized the electrolytes contained in mustard might be the reason why some find it to do the trick.
This isn’t the first time a hockey player throwing back mustard has made national headlines.
In 2019, forward Mark Letestu of the Winnipeg Jets opted against the bottle and went with a mustard pack.