If you’re a fan of the podcast Spittin Chiclets, one of the top hockey podcasts on Apple and Spotify, chances are you were one of the hundreds of people lined up outside Wine and Beyond Red Deer to meet Paul Bissonnette last week.
As part of a tour put on by Barstool Sports called Biz’s Great Canadian Pink Whitney Expedition, the hockey personality made 10 stops across Western Canada in August to meet fans and promote their brand.
On Friday in Red Deer, he did just that as he pulled up in a bright pink truck you could spot from a mile away, high-fiving fans before entering the building. Once inside he made time for each fan to have a chat, take a picture, and sign countless bottles of Pink Whitney and hockey merchandise.
Bissonnette told the Advocate during the hockey season they talked about doing a tour and when he got the dates originally there were only major cities on the list, which he wanted to change.
“I just figured because we have such a strong audience whether it’s in the Prairies or Alberta or even B.C. in these smaller towns as we’re going through why not take an RV and just do it ourselves to stop along the other routes,” he said. “Ultimately we’ve learned a lot from the trip it’s been a blast hanging out with the boys, and a great way to promote Pink Whitney, a drink that obviously means a lot to us and it really keeps the engine running for our podcast.”
The tour began on Aug. 9 in Brandon and made stops in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, and Edmonton before making it to Red Deer. They made multiple stops in Calgary on Saturday and will take a break before heading to Langley and Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 20.
Bissonnette said a tour of this magnitude is new to him. During the hockey season, they will make some stops to do a bottle signing but nothing to this size. Once the trip is over he said they will release a vlog so the fans who couldn’t be at any of the stops can experience it for themselves.
This also happened to be Bissonnette’s first time in Red Deer. He explained a friend of his, Noah Welch who now lives in the community after playing over a decade of professional hockey, invited him to come to the city.
“We’ve had a few Red Deer Rebels on the podcast, whether it was coach Sutter who was probably one of the most electric interviews we’ve ever had on there and I’ve only ever heard about [the city]. Coming through Welch told me to go to Bo’s Bar and Stage, went there for an incredible lunch they were extremely hospitable they had live music playing, and then just headed over here.
“I’m from a town of 50,000 so small-town Canada is where I feel most comfortable and it’s been a blast.”
During the tour, he has got the opportunity to meet thousands of people and some fan interactions that have really hit home are stories he’s heard when someone is going through a difficult time and listening to their podcast they feel like they’re all friends sitting in a room together.
“That, of course, means the world to us and we never expected to ever turn into what it turned into and that be the reaction we get from some of the fans,” Bissonnette said. “And just the other casual fans who might have lost a bit of interest in hockey where they say the podcast is what drew them back in. When fans come up and they express their feelings like that we’re not shy doing that on the podcast as well it just means the world to us. Even though sometimes we may be a little bit tired those are the conversations that remind you of why you do it and what keep you going.”
Before he became a personality on the famous podcast, Bissonnette play 12 years of professional hockey in the ECHL, AHL, and the NHL most notably for the Phoenix Coyotes and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Once he retired in 2017 he was a colour commentator during Coyotes broadcasts and a year later joined the podcast. Most recently in 2021, he joined Turner Sports as an analyst on NHL on TNT television broadcast alongside big names in hockey including Wayne Gretzky.