OTTAWA - Want a chance to sink the New York Rangers in their Round 1 dance with the Senators?
It stops short of a bloody sacrifice, or sticking pins in a Marian Gaborik doll, but let’s see how the freaking Rangers deal with a bit of witchcraft, voodoo or Brujeria that Senators fans can throw at them.
If you don’t want to put your full trust in Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson and mates, an iPhone app, Sports Hex, gives you a chance to hex the Rangers, with a helping hand from genuine witch doctors and spooky voodoo dudes.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to scavenge up eye of newt or toe of frog.
While the idea is for sports fans to have a bit of fun, there is an element of sorcery that might lead you to believe that you really can derail the East’s No. 1-ranked Rangers, who obviously are favoured to send the No. 8-ranked Senators packing.
“We wanted to make sure it was a legitimate, real hex,” said the app’s designer, CP+B executive creative director Alex Burnard.
“We enlisted three guys. First, they went to Mexico during voodoo festival week. The first guy they saw specialized in blessings. He gave them an amulet to protect them. They found a guy in Little Haiti in Miami and just before they got there, they realized they had forgotten the amulet. Then turned around and went back and got it.
“I’m the maker and I believe it a bit. I walk the line in the middle. But it’s weird and strange enough that you don’t want to mess with it.”
A chilling YouTube video asks: “What if you could do more than cheer for your team? What if you could put a hex on the other team?”
So why hex a sports team? Does it work?
“We generate a load of ideas all of the time,” said Burnard.
“And a lot of it doesn’t fit with our clients. So we wondered, what if we could put a hex on someone? But that seemed mean, so what about sports? There is a culture where you want to hex the other team.
“Fans already look to superstitions, so do the players. In hockey, they have the playoff beards. This just plays into that. It gives the fans a way to participate. And if you’re a fan, you want to do everything for your players that you can.
“With the app, you can bridge a need. Nobody from Ottawa is going to go to Catano, Mexico (to put on a hex).”
And don’t worry, if Rangers fans want to get dirty and toss a curse Ottawa’s way, there’s a style in the app called Blessings that will erase their evil doings.
Gmail accounts were set up for each of the practitioners, who then hexed the inboxes. The Gmail accounts were hooked up to the Sports Hex app, which is downloadable for free. Brujeria and Blessings cost 99 cents each, while voodoo and witchcraft are free.
You can follow all of the hexes on the app and they can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.
A Miami Heat fan, Burnard said he used the app heavily during last season’s NBA playoffs.
“I used it as much as I could,” said Burnard. “We were at a bar, showing the Beta part to some spectators one night. The Heat (were) playing the Bulls.
“Luol Deng was tearing up the Heat so I hexed him. Right after that, the ball bounced out of his hand and fell to the ground.
“In basketball, people started to use it in a weird way. They would hex the right arm of Kobe Bryant, not just Kobe. They would research and injury and if a guy had a busted kneecap, they would hex the kneecap.”
Let’s see how the John Tortorella tirade goes when the Rangers get KO’d in the first round.
And he finds out witchcraft is to blame.
The curse of the Billy Goat was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley Field because his pet goat's odour was bothering fans. Sianis’ family claims he sent a telegram to owner Philip K. Wrigley: “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.” The Cubs haven't won since.
During the 1970 World Cup qualifiers, Australia’s Socceroos hired a witch doctor to curse their opponents. Australia beat Rhodesia, 3-1. When the players refused to pay the nearly-$2,000 fee, the witch doctor reversed the curse onto the Socceroos, who lost their next match to Israel, partly because three players fell ill during the match. In 2004, comedian/filmmaker John Safran travelled to Africa to reverse the curse. He found that the original witch doctor was dead, but hired a second one who performed a rite in which he killed a chicken and splattered the blood over Saffran. The Socceroos not only qualified for the 2006 World Cup, they advanced to the second round, their best result ever.