The New Jersey Devils showed they are serious in their bid to toughen up for a potential playoff push by inviting several rough customers to the Prudential Center on Wednesday.
Former WWE heavyweight champion CM Punk joined fellow UFC brawlers Corey Anderson, Chris Wade and Jessica Eye along with the retired Forrest Griffin in taking some of the Devils through the paces. Chris Provino, who is UFC manager of athlete development, was also on hand.
Wade, who is a Long Island native, was quick to share his excitement with a post on social media.
Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, has yet to make his UFC debut after making an abrupt departure from the WWE in 2014. The Chicago-born fighter admitted he had difficulty coming to grips with skating with another NHL team outside of his beloved Blackhawks.
Defenseman Damon Severson was quick to get Punk on the ice while forwards Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri broke bread with the tough contingent.
New Jersey (23-19-5) has been one of the surprise stories of the NHL this season as it finds itself in the conversation for an elusive postseason berth. The Devils have missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.
The Prudential Center is not only the home of the NHL team but also the venue for UFC on FOX 18 on Jan. 30.