Francouz sleeps through Avalanche plane change on way to Global Series

Pavel Francouz is ready to give Rip Van Winkle a run for his money.

The Colorado Avalanche goalie may not have slept as long as the fictional Van Winkle, who in the Washington Irving story dozed for 20 years.

No, Francouz just slept so soundly that he missed the announcement of a plane change.

Francouz fell asleep almost as soon as he got on the Avalanche charter flight from New York to Helsinki for the 2022 NHL Global Series.

Wearing a sleeping mask and noise-canceling headphones, Francouz did not wake up when it was announced that a switch of planes was necessary because of a mechanical issue.

“The guys made a really nice prank on me when I fell asleep right away on the first plane and they all just left the plane and left me there,” he said. “That was really funny.”


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Francouz’s teammates quietly exited the plane, going so far as to avoid the aisle closest to where the goalie slumbered, leaving him behind, sprawled in his seat.

“We just kind of let him sleep there and get off the plane and play a little joke,” defenseman Josh Manson said. “Like he was the last guy. Welcome to Finland!”

Eventually Francouz woke up and looked around, only to find the plane deserted.

“I was really confused,” he said. “To be honest, I didn’t know if we were in Finland or what happened. So, yeah, that was a really good joke.”

When Francouz boarded the second plane, his teammates gave him a standing ovation.

After the delay, the Avalanche arrived in Helsinki on Monday to begin preparations for the Global Series, which features games against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nokia Arena in Tampere on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, ALT, BSOH, SN NOW) and Saturday.

The prank had no long-lasting effect on the goalie. Francouz got on the new plane and went back to sleep, waking up not long before arrival.

“As I said, I was just ready to sleep the whole flight,” he said, smiling. “It worked out pretty well.”

In the end, Francouz laughed last and maybe hardest about the prank.

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