Long road trips for hockey players can be quite boring. Between the planes and buses, hotel stays, and long days away from friends and family, players often find other activities to fill their days.
Sometimes that involves playing poker, watching movies, or sightseeing, but as the weather gets colder in a majority of the hockey cities, the less site-seeing seems appealing.
Then you have Jay Beagle, who, according to Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt, has compiled an army of Capitals players who all love playing Risk.
Although the most popular version of Risk is the classic board game, there is now an app version which is what Beagle often plays.
“I’m really good at conquering the world,” Beagle explained to Prewitt after a practice at Kettler. “It’s a gift.”
Beagle is definitely most famous for his use of a flip phone, Flipper, up until a few years ago. At first, he had to ask to borrow a teammates iPad to play Risk on team flights, thought he had never played the game before.
“I learned the ropes,” Beagle continued.
Beagle learned the game from former Capitals forward Eric Fehr, who also convinced John Carlson to join the gang. The three played together so often they were world-ranked on the app.
As the roster changed, Beagle needed a new group of guys to play with. In 2014-15, he recruited Tom Wilson and Aaron Volpatti, and started wagering real money for each game.
“I don’t think I won a game that year,” Wilson says. “Beags was definitely the master. I grew up playing the board game as a kid. You roll the die, you try to take a country. Whereas Beags has this huge strategy. He plays it to a tee. He just waits. If he needs to wait, he waits. He never does an emotional move. He’s always very calculated about what he’s doing.”
They all became obsessed, creating a special text thread to plan game times.
The tradition fizzled out after the 2014-15 season, when Fehr signed with the Penguins in free agency and Volpatti retired from the NHL. The old app shut down and the guys found new ways to entertain themselves.
Risk was revived with a new app this season, and Beagle and Wilson downloaded it right away. Recruiting Aaron Ness and Nathan Walker to the new gang, the four played often until Ness was reassigned and Walker was claimed off waivers.
“We haven’t played since,” Beagle said. “Risk is dead.”
Now it’s up to Beagle and Wilson to find a new group of guys to play with and keep the Caps Risk tradition going.
S/T to Lindsey from RMNB Crashers
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