Phil Kessel had an awesome way to avoid warmups, and we can’t stop laughing over the hilarious story about it

Phil Kessel is a legend. He’s a natural goal scorer and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But Kessel isn’t just renowned for his performances on the ice. He’s also one of the most universally well-liked figures in all hockey, and it’s easy to understand why.

Phil Kessel is the all-time NHL ironman, as he hasn’t missed a regular-season game in the last 13 years.

And that’s crazy to think about, especially since Kessel isn’t exactly known for his crazy work ethic. Kessel has always been kind of a slacker when it comes to training, and he’s quite the character outside the rink, where he usually shares photos eating hot dogs and just enjoying life.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel during game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Predators, June 8, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo: Wikicommons

Who, for example, can forget about the time he ate hot dogs out of the Stanley Cup?

But Kessel has always been an incredible talent and is a product of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He was identified as a potential elite player at a young age, and in the program, he played with some fantastic players. Nick Foligno was also in the program, and he has so many great memories of Kessel, some of which he shared when guesting on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.

”Phil is my favorite. When I went to that program, you know what it’s like,” Foligno said. ”You go there and it’s just like gelling 20 egos. You’re working out every day, which you’ve never done. You’re miserable, you hate it. And then you get all these guys in the room and you still got that… There’s Boston guys that hated Minnesota and so on.”

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Foligno didn’t know what to expect when he joined the program, but he remembers what a crazy talent Kessel was.

”Phil was hilarious. Like just a God-given talent and I didn’t know anybody going to that program. I didn’t know who the best players in the country were.”

But Foligno quickly realized how good Kessel really was—and what a hilarious guy he was. He especially remembers how Kessel always had his tricks to get out of warm-ups.

”I just remember how Phil made me laugh because we have to work out every day. Phil, you know, he was just a God-given talent, and honestly, he’s a pretty strong guy. One thing people don’t know about him, like yeah, there’s jokes about him, but lower body-wise, he would throw up some serious weight.

”When we had to go do runs and stuff, we needed to do a mile run to warm up, and he’d be like hiding and then jump out at the end to come into that. And we also did boxing.”

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At the program, a coach named Kurt forced the players into the boxing ring. But Kessel still managed to stay away from getting hit.

”Kurt would bring one of his golden glove boxers. We’re all petrified. Phil would be in there and you know, half-ass boxing, and then Kurt sent in a strong kid, and Phil would just start running around the ring so the guy wouldn’t be able to hit him. We’re just dying laughing and hoping to God we don’t get in there.”

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