Calder Cup Final: Coachella Valley Firebirds Call for Chocolate Abstinence During Matchup with Hershey Bears
Teams will go to great lengths to secure a championship victory. The Coachella Valley Firebirds of the American Hockey League (AHL) are taking an unconventional approach to this mantra.
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Firebirds have requested their fans to abstain from consuming all forms of chocolate while the team faces off against the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup Final. The team has called for a “boycott and elimination of all chocolate within the Coachella Valley, including chocolate bars, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate donuts, and chocolate chip cookies.”
The Hershey Bears, who serve as the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, hail from Hershey, Pennsylvania—the home of the renowned Hershey candy company. In response to the Bears’ association with “Chocolatetown USA,” the Firebirds devised a campaign urging their fanbase to refrain from indulging in these sugary delights for a few weeks.
“Our fans have been incredible throughout the season, showing great dedication and willingness to support us. We wanted to spark a spirited rivalry with the Hershey Bears,” explained Evan Pivnick, the Firebirds’ director of broadcast and communications. “Since there will be a fierce competition on the ice, we decided to initiate a chocolate boycott in the Coachella Valley off the ice. No buying. No consuming. It’s an old-fashioned gimmick to keep things fun and lighthearted.”
Of course, the chocolate ban is not absolute, as fans are still welcome to purchase and enjoy the delectable treat at Coachella Valley home games. Nonetheless, the team issued an amusing statement on social media regarding Hershey chocolate.
In a video shared on Coachella Valley’s Twitter account prior to the series, the team’s mascot, Fuego, was featured discarding some chocolate. Fuego humorously tossed the chocolate into the trash, but there was a minor mishap—the discarded candies included M&Ms, which are produced by Mars, not Hershey.
Since the Firebirds cannot outright ban chocolate, they have established a chocolate exchange program. Fans who bring chocolate to the arena will receive a bag of Brandini Toffee popcorn, a local delicacy made in nearby Rancho Mirage, California.
In the early stages of the series, the chocolate boycott seemed to be effective. The Firebirds dominated the Bears, outscoring them 9-0 in the first two games of the Calder Cup Final, seizing a 2-0 series lead.
However, as the series shifted to Hershey, the Bears’ fortunes took a turn. They staged a comeback in Game 3, triumphing over the Firebirds 5-4 in overtime, courtesy of a game-winning goal by forward Riley Sutter. Hershey continued their resurgence in Game 4, securing a 3-2 victory over the Firebirds with a stellar two-goal performance from forward Mike Vecchione.
Currently, the Calder Cup Final stands tied at 2-2, with the Bears slated to host the Firebirds in Game 5 in Hershey before returning to Coachella Valley.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about chocolate boycott
Q: Why are the Coachella Valley Firebirds asking fans to boycott chocolate during the Calder Cup Final?
A: The Coachella Valley Firebirds have initiated a chocolate boycott as a playful way to create a rivalry with the Hershey Bears, who are based in Hershey, Pennsylvania, known for its association with the Hershey candy company. The team aims to engage their fanbase and add some fun and lightheartedness to the matchup.