Pavel Francouz is ready to give Rip Van Winkle a hard time.
The Colorado Avalanche goaltender may not have slept as long as the fictional Van Winkle, who in the Washington Irving storyline slept for 20 years.
No, Francouz just slept so soundly that he missed the announcement of a plane change.
Francouz fell asleep almost as soon as he boarded the Avalanche charter flight from New York to Helsinki for the 2022 NHL World Series.
Wearing a sleep mask and noise canceling headphones, Francouz did not wake up when it was announced that a plane change was necessary due to a mechanical problem.
“The guys pulled a really nice prank on me when I fell asleep right away on the first plane and they all just got off the plane and left me there,” he said. “It was really funny.”
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Francouz’s teammates quietly got out of the plane, going so far as to avoid the aisle closest to where the guard was sleeping, leaving him behind, sprawled in his seat.
“We kind of let him sleep there and get off the plane and do a little joke,” the defender said. Josh Manson said. “Like he was the last guy. Welcome to Finland!
Eventually Francouz woke up and looked around, only to find the plane deserted.
“I was really confused,” he said. “To be honest, I didn’t know if we were in Finland or what happened. So, yes, it was a very good joke.”
When Francouz boarded the second plane, his teammates gave him a standing ovation.
After the delay, the Avalanche arrived in Helsinki on Monday to begin preparations for the Global Series, which will include games against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nokia Arena in Tampere on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, ALT, BSOH, SN NOW) and Saturday.
The prank had no lasting effect on the goalkeeper. Francouz boarded the new plane and went back to sleep, waking up shortly before arrival.
“Like I said, I was just ready to sleep the whole flight,” he said with a smile. “It worked pretty well.”
In the end, Francouz laughed the last and perhaps the hardest about the prank.