It all started with a couple of guys drinking beer.
Last Friday night, NHL free agent Paul Bissonnette was having a few cold ones with his close friends when they suggested he take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which is designed to raise money and awareness for ALS research. If challenged, you’re supposed to have some sort of cold liquid dumped over your head or make a donation.
Well, Bissonnette’s former teammate, Keith Yandle, challenged him to do it, and another friend – who has a friend who owns a chopper – suggested they take a chopper into the mountains and drop glacier water on Bissonnette.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s an unreal idea. That’s hilarious,’” Bissonnette said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Sometimes when you’re drinking, you talk about things and a lot of times you don’t act out on them. But at 9:30 in the morning, my phone rang (and we did it).”
Bissonnette wore a speedo for the festivities, and he and his friends captured the event on video, which took about two-and-a-half hours.
The Ice Bucket Challenge began a few weeks ago when the family of 29-year-old Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, wanted to do something to raise awareness for the disease. A former athlete, Frates played baseball at Boston College and was named team captain in 2007.
Several people, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, have taken part in the challenge. But while Goodell took an ice-cold shower, Bissonnette, 29, one-upped him with glacial water in the mountains.
Bissonnette has received a lot of positive feedback on the video. He did, however, receive some backlash. Apparently some people thought the video was dumb and that Bissonnette just should have donated money to research.
“There’s always going to be people who want to try to find the negative in anything,” Bissonnette said.
For what it’s worth, Bissonnette and his friends pooled together $600 to donate to ALS and are hoping this video encourages other people to donate as well.
“At the end of the day, it’s all positive,” said Bissonnette, who challenged LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson to also take part in the challenge.
Bissonnette, meanwhile, is looking for a place to call home. He began his career in Pittsburgh before going to Phoenix in 2009.
The Penguins are reportedly interested in Bissonnette once more.
“I have a pretty special tie with Pittsburgh,” Bissonnette said. “Obviously I started there and I know a lot of guys there. But I’ve been talking with them, Washington, Chicago and Minnesota. I mean, I don’t wan to give much information out, but right now, I would say it looks like Washington, but I think something needs to happen for that to happen. That’s what it looks like right now, but nothing’s really for sure until you sign the deal. I hope it works out and I hope I get to play at least a few more years in the NHL, so we’ll see.”