Free food is the best food — especially when it’s fresh, crispy french fries. But due to a particular team’s poor start to the NHL season, a popular fast food restaurant has had to change an old-favorite promotion so that hockey fans have an easier time nabbing the sweet deal, ESPN reported.
For over a decade, Arby’s has held a promotion in which fans of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings could receive a free order of curly fries if a Red Wings player scored a hat trick — which is when an individual player scores three goals in a single game. Some participating restaurants required fans to show the box score of the previous night’s game as proof. Others simply took their word, preparing the order upon customers saying that they were there for the “free Wings fries.”
The promotion was wildly popular, being referenced by Red Wings announcers over the speakers after hat tricks. The fast food chain briefly switched the free treat from fries to sandwiches, but brought back the classic deal after fans “revolted.”
The last few seasons have been unlike any other, with fans ready to indulge in the delectable treat while supporting their team. The Red Wings, unfortunately, haven’t been much help this year.
According to ESPN, no Detroit Red Wings player has scored three goals during the current season. The Red Wings currently have the worst record in the NHL, going 1-6-2 after nine games. This poor performance seems to have carried over from last season, when the team finished with a record of 30-39-13. They achieved a total of 217 goals, and no hat tricks whatsoever. During the previous season, the Detroit Red Wings were ranked 27th in the NHL, and 28th in total goals scored.
This lack of hat tricks prompted Arby’s to change their promotion this season, catering more to the strengths of the hockey team. As first noted on Twitter by Prashanth Iyer, a hockey analytics blogger, Arby’s is now giving away their golden potato ringlets for any games in which the Red Wings score three or more goals as a team — rather than when an individual player does so.
There is no greater indictment of the Wings than Arby's changing their curly fries giveaway from "if a player scores a hat trick" to "if the team manages to score 3 goals in a single game"
— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 23, 2018
“We want to continue to reward fans and give them the best chance possible to get free Arby’s Curly Fries,” an Arby’s spokesperson said via email to ESPN.“After last season, we realized there were too few occurrences of Hat Tricks, leaving fans hungry for more Curly Fries. This year, we hope to reward our die-hard Arby’s and Red Wings fans with a chance to savor our Curly Fries more often.”
Last season, the Red Wings hit the new three-goal threshold 39 times, and have done so three times this season already. The most recent occasion where the Red Wings tallied three goals was on October 20, when they beat the Florida Panthers in overtime by a score of 4-3.