By Sarah Kwak
The scene was familiar to any fan, but particularly to those who know and love the trenches of minor minor-league hockey. Off a third-period draw last Friday — in a game in which the Danville Dashers trailed the Dayton Demonz by four goals with less than 10 minutes to go in their Federal League seasons — Danville forward Matt Puntureri and Dayton center Jesse Felten shed their gloves, elbow pads and helmets and made for center ice. They looked at each other as they deked and danced from there to the far blue line, but when Puntureri made his move to scrap, he did so with outstretched arms. Felten, too, opened his arms wide, and the two hugged it out before a punch was thrown. But that’s not all. Puntureri then reached into his hockey shorts and took out a can of Coors Light, a leftover from the Dashers’ rookie party last week. He cracked it open and, with his arm around Felten while flashing a peace sign, the two skated around the rink in a surprising show of harmony.
On the video of the “hug and beer fight,” which went viral over the weekend, an announcer proclaimed, “I think that was set up.” His ever-astute reasoning proved correct.
“It was my idea, not to brag or anything,” Puntureri said on Monday from his home in Wampum, Pa. “I’m always pulling silly antics like this, whether it be some celebrations or anything like that.”