We know mail can be a bit unreliable at times. Just ask Seinfeld's Newman, who claims no postal worker has ever cracked the 50-percent delivery barrier, comparing such a feat to running a three-minute mile (that might explain why I’m still waiting to receive a Christmas card my friend supposedly sent months ago).
Apparently, the USPS aren’t the only ones still working out the kinks. FedEx botched what should have been a routine order earlier this week, delivering $5,000 worth of hockey sticks to unsuspecting clothing store owner Ariel Ben-Abraham. Upon further examination, the New Jersey native noticed the package was addressed to the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The sticks were apparently meant for Caps newcomer Zdeno Chara, a likely Hall-of-Famer and the tallest player in league history at a towering 6’9.”
The 43-year-old defenseman received a fresh batch of sticks from True Hockey, a division of True Temper Sports (known as the world’s largest manufacturer of golf shafts), on January 25th. It’s not uncommon for players to request tweaks upon testing out their sticks, which is why FedEx sent out—albeit unsuccessfully—a new shipment that inexplicably arrived on Ben-Abraham’s doorstep. As legendary announcer Bob Uecker would say, “juuuuuust a bit outside.”
“This has to take the cake as the strangest thing I've gotten by mistake,” Ben-Abraham told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “Future Hall of Famer's sticks, for the tallest player in NHL history? That's crazy. Those odds don't even make sense."
Corey Gregory, True Hockey’s trade marketing manager for North America, was similarly flustered. “This is not something I thought I'd be dealing with,” Gregory admitted. When Ben-Abraham tweeted out a photo of the delivery mishap, Gregory immediately alerted FedEx of the mix-up. However, FedEx’s records showed the sticks were still at a warehouse in Memphis.
"No, they're not in Memphis, guys. We have a kid in New Jersey who has posted them online,” said Gregory, who has arranged for Chara to pick up his missing sticks from Ben-Abraham when the Capitals visit the New York Rangers for a game later this week. Gregory said True Hockey is "mulling" a reward to give Ben-Abraham for his cooperation. “Once [Ben-Abraham] posted it, I was confident they weren't going to be sold. It's kind of like taking a picture of yourself robbing the bank.”
The highly-coveted “Project X” sticks Chara ordered aren’t even on the market yet. Those will be available for public consumption starting February 5th (Friday). Even without his preferred sticks, Chara delivered a strong performance Monday night, netting his second goal of the year in a loss to the Bruins, the team he spent his previous 14 seasons playing for and won a Stanley Cup with in 2011.