MONTREAL — With the NHL lockout grinding through its fourth month, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges looked to an unusual source to find his next hockey game: Twitter.
The 28-year-old Gorges extended an open invitation to his followers on the social network to join him at a Montreal rink Wednesday afternoon, during the Boxing Day holiday.
Fans responded in droves.
The scene didn’t look much different from those playing out at countless parks and ponds across the country — except for the high turnout.
Dozens of players, ranging widely in age and skill level, packed into a rink in the city’s Verdun neighborhood for a chance to skate alongside an NHL player.
“I haven’t played outdoors in a long time, but I figured we’ve got some time and I’ve got nothing else to do,” Gorges told reporters during a break from the game. “I was just looking to skate outdoors and I threw it out there on Twitter and so many people were asking where I’d go play. So I thought, ‘Why not set a time and place and we’ll all come and play?”’
The event comes two days after the NHL lockout reached its 100th day. One fan who joined Gorges on the ice said he appreciated his effort to reach out to fans after months of frustration.
“I really respect what he did for the fans and I know he cares about his relationship with the community,” said David Stein, 19. “I got to basically live out a dream here playing with one of my favorite players on the Montreal Canadiens. It was really a special day.”