Mooseheads player takes swigs of mustard on the bench to ward off leg cramps
Halifax Mooseheads forward Zachary L'Heureux skates against the Gatineau Olympiques during a QMJHL game in Halifax, in a Dec.10, 2022 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Halifax Mooseheads/Trevor MacMillan
Sitting on the Halifax Mooseheads' bench Sunday during a playoff game, Zachary L'Heureux grimaced as he squeezed a bright yellow mustard bottle and took a swig.
Since the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League posted a video Tuesday on Twitter of the 19-year-old left-winger and his unusual snack, it has attracted nearly 100,000 views and caused plenty of raised eyebrows.
L'Heureux, the 2021 first-round draft pick of the NHL's Nashville Predators, says in a video posted online by his team today that he gulps the mustard to relieve leg cramps.
He says the condiment is readily available on the bench and he has been using it for years, but he acknowledges few of his teammates join him.
Harvard Medical School's website says in a 2017 article that there are no widely accepted treatments for leg cramps but unproven remedies such as mustard and pickle juice could be "worth a try."
It says scientists think the foods might calm overexcited neurons through a passage that starts in the mouth and goes through the esophagus and stomach.
L'Heureux swears by it, even if he's in the minority.
"Not a lot of big fans of mustard on that bench," he said in the video. "But I think it works. It's the best remedy, so I power through it."
The Mercier, Que., native has seven goals and nine assists in 12 playoffs games this year. Though they lost Sunday's game in overtime, the Mooseheads bounced back with a win Tuesday and now trail the Sherbrooke Phoenix 2-1 in the best-of-seven semi-final series.
- This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.