Columnists, Hockey, Ice Hockey, Sports

Off the Post: Paul Bissonnette ready for his second act

Paul Bissonnette — better known as “Biznasty” by the hockey world — may not have found stardom under the bright lights of the NHL, but he has made a name for himself by talking about the sport he loves. As one of the hosts of hit Barstool hockey podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets,” Bissonnette has become a notable name in the sports media industry — now a long way from throwing punches on the fourth line of the Arizona Coyotes. 

Drafted in the fourth round by the 2003 Pittsburgh Penguins, Bissonnette was known for his tough and in-your-face style of play. He wasn’t there to be a top goal-scorer, but he could get a group going on and off the ice. Biz knew his role and proudly stuck to it until his last season in the league in 2014. 

Alexia Nizhny/DFP STAFF

Retiring from any professional sports league is a tremendous challenge for most athletes. These men and women have dedicated their lives to a game. It builds up a great deal of their identity, so figuring out who one is after that chapter of life is over is not an easy task. A 9-to-5 desk job could’ve been next in Bissonnette’s cards, but he took another path. 

Starting as a radio color analyst for the Coyotes after retirement allowed Biz to keep a foot in the hockey world, the place he knows best. He then joined the now-iconic group at “Spittin’ Chiclets” in 2018, and that’s when things really took off. Already a big shot on Twitter, this new position only boosted his often-hilarious online presence. 

Hockey fans love “Spittin’ Chiclets” for its authenticity. You’re listening to guys who have been in the league, have grown up with the game and are just as crazy about the sport as you are. Their personalities bounce off of one another with a somewhat chaotic but lovable dynamic that makes a two-to-four-hour podcast feel like 30 minutes. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the success they’ve had — and it’s clear the league has noticed. 

When the NHL sealed the deal with Turner Sports for a seven-year broadcasting contract, they needed to recruit new analysts after the announcement that NBC Sports Network would be dismantled. TNT will now be home to the vast majority of NHL games for the foreseeable future, as well as the hosts of the live commentary segment for each competition. 

Biznasty, all the way from serving five-minute majors in the sin bin, will be standing alongside NHL legend “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, veteran hockey analyst Liam McHugh, former player Anson Carter and many more impressive names as a member of the studio commentator team for TNT. 

It’s truly a rare success story when a player rises to more fame post-professional career rather than during, but Bissonnette’s new suit-and-tie-worthy job is proof of possibility. It’s safe to say that the “Chiclets” community at large will be cheering him on from our couches this season as Biz brings some spice and inevitable laughs to the table this fall. 

On the Sept. 21 episode of the podcast, Bissonnette called this opportunity his “second lease on life” and was filled with gratitude for all the people who made his upcoming stint possible. He was sure to clarify that his fancy contract would in no way conflict with his role on “Spittin’ Chiclets” — a guarantee I’m sure the guys will hold him to. 

In this new era of NHL media coverage with TNT, it’s great to see a guy with such a genuine passion and love for the game get his break on the big stage. Perhaps Bissonnette is the new inspiration story for fourth-line grinders everywhere — it doesn’t have to be over once you take your skates off. 

One Comment

  1. Great piece and great move by TNT. Welcome to the NextGen NHL. Robin Lehner presiding! LGR!

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