Alexander Rossi admitted he had a lot to learn about the Verizon IndyCar Series when he made his debut in March 2016.
Rossi was a fast learner, earning a stunning, strategic victory just two months later in the biggest race of all – the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Now you can add hockey to the list of activities where Rossi proved he learns almost as fast as he drives in his No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda.
The Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian driver participated in the popular “Shoot the Puck” promotion Thursday night at center ice of the United Center in Chicago during the second intermission of the NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars.
Participants shoot three pucks from center ice toward the goal, trying to score through one of three small holes at the bottom of a board covering the net. Donations are made to charity for winning shots.
Rossi, who grew up in Northern California with no hockey experience, was a quick study with a stick in his hands. He came close to scoring on his third and final shot, drawing cheers from the capacity crowd of 21,798.
“The atmosphere at the United Center is awesome and I had a great time watching the game and playing Shoot the Puck,” Rossi said. “My hockey skills aren’t quite pro level yet, but I’m down to keep practicing and give this another try next season. The Blackhawks’ organization is a first-class host, and hopefully I can return the favor by bringing a few players to an INDYCAR race down the line.”
Rossi joined a list of prominent athletes who have celebrated major victories by playing “Shoot the Puck.” Other recent participants included stars from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs and U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles.
After the game, Rossi visited the Blackhawks’ locker room and chatted with five-time NHL All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup winner Marian Hossa, who scored for Chicago in its 3-2 shootout victory Thursday night. Rossi and Blackhawks right wing Hossa compared racing in Hossa’s native Europe and in the United States, about the diverse road-street-oval venue mix of the Verizon IndyCar Series and about the sheer enormity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Rossi also met NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and famed Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison, who let Rossi try on his 2015 Stanley Cup champions ring.
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.@AlexanderRossi practice makes perfect. The champ is ready. pic.twitter.com/s18XcM8bd6
So @alexanderrossi looks pretty good wearing a champions ring, huh? If you've never seen the great Jim Cornelison sing live, put the United Center on your bucket list!!!!
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