Blake Coleman has gained some notoriety through his pickle juice consumption. Now he is using that notoriety as a way to give back to the community. The Devils center yesterday officially launched “Pickles Pals,” a program to help underprivileged youth in Newark.
Coleman famously drinks pickle juice as a way to alleviate muscle cramps, making use of the electrolytes available in the brine. A TV camera caught him drinking this unusual sports drink in the penalty box last season during a game against the Avalanche and since then it has taken on a life of it’s own. From fans bringing an inflatable pickle with his jersey on it to the rink to goalie Keith Kinkaid using a pickle emoji to represent Coleman in Kinkaid’s postgame tweets, Coleman has seen and embraced his role as the “pickleman.”
Now he is using that and his standing as a professional athlete to give back to those less fortunate in the community. As Coleman told MSG+’s Erika Wachter during last night’s postgame show, he felt that he was fortunate to grow up in a privileged situation and he wants to help kids who do not have that advantage in life.
“Pickles Pals” will support the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Newark Ironbound (BGCN). He has also created a line of merchandise (which he told Wachter was designed by his sister) and pickle juice, called P20, that has raised money for Newark-based charities. The merchandise is available at the Devils Den Team Store at Prudential Center or online at www.coleman20.com.
According to the press release put out by the Devils, “Pickles Pals” looks “inspire young people to read and embrace education while providing a fun learning environment.” It will “give back to the community by developing academic programs and securing necessary supplies with the purpose of providing kids of BGCN with resources needed to achieve their academic goals.”
Similar to Cory Schneider’s “Cory’s Keepers” initiative, “Pickles Pals” will also allow members of the BGCN to attend Devils home games and join in a postgame meet and greet with Coleman. The press release says that the first such game where this will be done is the Sunday, December 23 game against the Blue Jackets.
Coleman’s pickle juice consumption became a bit of a phenomenon, with the player and his “interesting/shocking drink of choice” being focused on in outlets such as CBS This Morning, Sports Illustrated, MSG Network, Food & Wine and Sportsnet according to the press release. Coleman saw the attention he was receiving and decided this was “an opportunity to have a powerful positive influence and wanted to give back to the Newark Community.”
The press release also states that while “Pickles Pals” is committed to helping kids academically, it also will serve as “an empathetic ear” and that Coleman will try to serve “as a positive role-model.”