Arber Xhekaj’s reputation as one of the toughest guys in hockey just continues to spread across the NHL. Xhekaj is playing in his first-ever NHL season, but he’s not your ordinary rookie, and he certainly doesn’t play like a young kid.
Xhekaj has made a huge name for himself during his first year in the NHL and has already dropped the gloves with some of the toughest guys in the league.
When the Montreal Canadiens defenseman fought Zack Kassian early in the campaign, Xhekaj became an immediate fan favorite across the league, and since, his popularity has continued to rise.
Xhekaj’s story is unique. Just two years ago, he worked at Costco, but he is now a regular in the NHL and isn’t afraid of anyone. In fact, when he gets the opportunity, it’s he who scares some of the biggest guys in the league.
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In the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, former defender Ryan Whitney told a tasty anecdote about Xhekaj, who’s also nicknamed WiFi.
“I was playing golf with Marc Staal and we were talking about how in the league now there’s a lack of toughness and he said, ‘there’s this guy, WiFi, we were in the corner and I was holding him and he just looks at me & says: ‘You have 3 seconds to let go…’’” Whitney said.
Marc Staal just replied, ”Ok! Jesus Christ!” to Xhekaj, clearly shocked by what had just happened. Marc Staal is a 6’4” defenseman, weighing around 209 lbs, so he’s not the smallest guy in the league. That takes some real courage from Xhekaj!
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