Free beer and podcast influencers: How the Vancouver Warriors lacrosse team won the internet this week…

So if you’re any kind of sports fan like I am, or even a casual fan, chances are you probably know who Paul Bissonnette aka “BizNasty2.0” is. The former NHL player played a total of 202 games and scored a whopping 7 goals and 15 assists for a total of 22 measly points. Bissonnette spent the better part of 3 seasons bouncing between the NHL’s feeder league, the AHL (American Hockey League) and ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) before landing in the NHL for 6 seasons starting in the 2008-2009 season. He spent the final 3 seasons of his career back down in the AHL before finally hanging up the skates after the 2016-2017 season.

But if it isn’t obvious by now, he wasn’t exactly a highly regarded offensive talent during his playing career. He did however, carry a reputation for being a bit of a goon when he suited up the skates tallying a much higher total of 340 penalty minutes during his NHL career. He even bragged about carrying around a replica WWE championship wrestling belt onto the ice during warm ups before an ECHL game to signify to the other tough guys that he was the league’s heavyweight champ and would not be messed with.

But “Biz” garnered more of a celebrity status from his involvement with the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast than any time spent playing on ice for any hockey team. “Spittin’ Chiclets” is a podcast presented by Barstool Sports which is a hugely popular in Canada and is the number one podcast on spotify. Each episode garners over 5 MILLION downloads on average, and Bissonnette himself has over 1.1 million twitter followers of which over 100,000 live right here in the lower mainland.

And this level of social media presence is just what the marketing team for the Vancouver Warriors were looking for to draw in new fans when they saw an opportunity arise from one simple tweet from Bissonnette’s twitter account.

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The Warriors are just about to start their second season as a franchise in the NLL (National Lacrosse League) and the team plays out of Rogers Arena downtown Vancouver. Their first season didn’t go exactly to plan. The team’s record finished at 5 wins, 13 losses after their inaugural season. The Warriors moved from playing home games at the Langley Event Centre to Rogers Arena and renamed the team from the Stealth to the Warriors after an ownership change and acquisition from by the Aquilini led Canucks Sports & Entertainment. If you’re from Vancouver, the name Francesco Aquilini probably sounds familiar. He is the primary owner of the Aquilini group which is the parent subsidiary of Canucks Sports & Entertainment which owns the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, AHL’s Utica Comets, Overwatch League’s Vancouver Titans as well as Rogers Arena itself.

The team’s social media and marketing team did a great job marketing to fans in their first season but after the season, they felt what they needed was to draw more than just the hardcore lacrosse fans that they would attract anyways. What the marketing team for the Warriors was looking for, was to attract a younger generation of fans that perhaps haven’t seen or experienced the atmosphere of a live lacrosse game, especially those whom live downtown. They needed something to garner the attention of the mainstream or even casual sports fan residing in Vancouver. The team came up with the idea of offering a free beer for every of age fan entering Rogers Arena which is a terrific idea to get butts in seats but what they REALLY needed was someone with a big existing social media presence who could draw out the crowds and get people excited about the fastest game on two feet. What they needed was their own “West Coast – Best Coast” version of Drake to attract the mainstream to this great atmosphere and family friendly game down at Rogers Arena.

What they needed it turned out… was “Biz-Nasty”

The Warriors social media team hopped on the opportunity to chirp one of the best sh*t-talking, knuckle chuckin, rough and tumble tooth spittin warriors the NHL had to offer. They set their sights on “BizNasty2Point0” on twitter and started engaging in a friendly twitter banter with the “Spittin’ Chiclets” host.

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This reply from the Warriors twitter account started a back and forth between the team and the former NHL player and hit podcast host. The exchange ended up with “Biz” being offered a PTO (Professional Tryout). Fast forward a few short days and Paul Bissonnette arrives in Vancouver, as promised, to start his PTO.

Hilarity ensues.

Bissonnette checks into the venue before his first ever lacrosse practice and before he does, walks straight up to current team captain Matt Beers and looks him dead into the eyes and says…..

“I’m the captain now”

He delivers a quote from 2013 film “Captain Phillips” with utter certainty that he’s going to be the best thing in the NLL since sliced bread. But that dream is short lived soon after “Biz” takes the field. He soon learns that there “is no gliding” in lacrosse and that accepting a pass at full sprint isn’t anywhere easy as they make it seem in the highlights he’s watched on YouTube.

In a highlight film of the tryout released by the Warriors, Bissonnette is heard asking a Warriors coach for a left handed stick. The coach looks at him puzzled and replies… “There is no wrong handed stick. It’s not hockey. Lefty, Righty, they’re all the same. Don’t blame your equipment, bud.”

Soon after the practice, Bissonnette is called into the GM (General Managers) office for a meeting with Warriors GM Dan Richardson and is subsequently cut from the team. Well produced videos of all the hilarious exchanges are immediately put up on all the team’s social media accounts and have garnered hundreds of thousands of views and impressions online.

This goldmine of marketing content was thought up by a genius team of social media savvy team members whom seized an opportunity to draw attention to the team. They got all this attention online and it didn’t even cost them a dime. They released all the videos on their own social media pages and on their website ( so they didn’t need to spend on advertising the content as Bissonnette’s social media sharing and retweeting of the videos did wonders for the new brand in terms of Vancouver sports.

The team also made the media savvy move to name Bissonnette as the team’s ambassador including an event on opening night where fans can swill one of those free brew’s with “BizNasty” himself as he will be at the game on one of the upper concourses. Included with the ticket are happy hour pricing before the second quarter starts which include $3 popcorn, $4 hotdogs and $5 beers! The first 2000 fans through the doors will receive a free Vancouver Warriors touque as well!

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I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m doing this Friday, November 29th

– Joel “Turtle” Gaudet

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