- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rob Gronkowski is taking his spikes to the ice.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's emphatic post-touchdown spikes have become quite the attraction. So much so that he's found offseason work because of them.
The Worcester Sharks, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, have agreed to reimburse Gronkowski the $7,500 he was fined by the NFL for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he accrued while spiking the ball near an opponent in a Week 10 win over the rival New York Jets. In exchange, Gronkowski will spike a ceremonial puck before the Sharks meet the rival Providence Bruins on Feb. 24 at the DCU Center.
"The Sharks are really excited that Gronkowski took us up on our offer,” Worcester Sharks president Michael A. Mudd said in a press release Wednesday announcing the appearance. “This is a win-win for everyone. Sharks fans are Patriots fans and I know that they will pack the house to root on Rob and the Sharks."
Gronkowski is second in the NFL with 10 receiving touchdowns this season and now boasts 20 for his career. His spikes have become a spectacle of their own, including this past Monday when Gronkowski, dazed from landing awkwardly on his head while diving into the end zone on his second touchdown receptions against the Chiefs, staggered to his feet and still delivered a spike.
Even Patriots coach Bill Belichick had some fun earlier this week when asked if he's ever seen anyone spike the ball as hard as Gronkowski.
"I don’t think so," said Belichick. "It’s like he’s drilling for oil."