Steady server enjoying her ‘15 minutes of fame’
Kelsie Norman’s 15 minutes of fame have lasted more than a week.
“I’m OK with it. It’s been lots of fun,” said the Kingston native, who has become a bit of a celebrity since a week ago Tuesday when a TV camera caught the Ottawa server holding onto a beer despite taking a pretty good jolt from a celebrating Senators fan.
Norman, working a shift at Sens House Sports Bar & Grill on May 9 during Game 6 of the OttawaNew York Rangers NHL playoff series, was approaching a table with a Molson Canadian tall boy beer can in her right hand when the Sens scored and fans jumped up in unison. One fellow’s right arm flew up into Norman’s right hand. Unfazed, she held onto the beer and placed it on the table without spilling a drop.
A Sportsnet camera happened to be rolling at that exact moment and the clip made its way onto Hockey
Night in Canada that same night and went viral on the Internet.
“It’s definitely been crazy on the social media side of things,” said Norman, 21, a Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School grad who just finished her third year at the University of Ottawa, where she’s pursuing a joint honours degree in communications and sociology.
“I’m not used to getting so many notifications on my phone. I’ve heard from family and friends, people saying, ‘Oh my God, we know her from Sens House.’”
Molson wasted no time jumping on the publicity bandwagon, creating a hashtag #thegirlwhosavedthebeer.
“It’s a spinoff on Dart Guy,” said Norman, referring to the Toronto Maple Leafs fan who became a media sensation when TV cameras spotted him in the crowd at Game 2 of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals. “They want me to be the Sens’ ‘Dart Guy.’ I’ve seen a few tweets about The Battle of Ontario: Dart Guy vs. The Girl Who Saved the Beer.”
The beer giant showed its appreciation to Norman by giving her two seats in the Molson Canadian Fan Deck at the Senators game Wednesday night. She took her sister, Madison, 23, a recent Queen’s University grad — “my sister and I are very close. We’re best friends,” Kelsie said — and Molson rented a limousine to transport the pair to the game. And there was more. The sisters were standing in front of the arena before the game when Kelsie noticed “they were wheeling this giant thing, with a cardboard box over it, and I thought, ‘What the heck can this be?’ Someone from Molson said, ‘This is for you.’”
It was a large red Molson fridge adorned with a white maple leaf.
“It was a surprise for me,” said Norman, whose new appliance is in the possession of the Senators.
“They want me to let them know where it goes. I think I’ll have them ship it back to Kingston and have my parents store it for me. I’ve got a two-bedroom apartment in Ottawa. There’s no room for it.”
Norman, standing next to the fridge, was interviewed by a Senators reporter and the 52-second clip is posted on nhl.com.
The Fan Deck was located next to the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast booth that housed Ron MacLean and Kingston native Don Cherry.
“I could see Ron MacLean from where I was sitting,” Norman said. “I tweeted him to say, ‘I’m at the game. Thanks for the shoutout last week.’ During the first intermission, I got a tweet from Hockey
Night in Canada producer Kathy [Broderick] to come visit during the second period.”
Norman went to the set and talked with MacLean and Cherry.
“Ron said, ‘Let’s do a segment. Come back at the end of the period and we’ll talk.’”
Cherry, who owns a cottage on Wolfe Island, said to her, “How about the water levels in Kingston, eh?”
After the second period, the sisters returned to the set and were interviewed by MacLean. “I was super starstruck,” said Norman, the middle child of Rob and Laura’s three offspring. “When we were kids and Don Cherry would come on Hockey Night in Canada, my dad would say, ‘Stop talking. God is speaking.’ We weren’t allowed to talk during Coach’s Corner. I was starstruck to be in his presence.”
Norman, who works at Sens House one or two shifts a week during the school year and four or five shifts a week during the summer months, suspected her “save” was caught on camera.
“While I was putting down the beer at the table, I thought the camera might have caught it,” she said. “I remember saying to one of my coworkers, ‘Oh my God, I think the camera caught me almost spilling that beer, but that won’t be on TV.’
“After we shut down around 12, 12:30 that night, I had a chance to check my phone and family and friends were messaging me to say they saw me on Hockey Night in
Canada. [The camera] caught it and they played the clip during the game. During the game, one of the ladies from Sportsnet said to me. ‘We need your name. We want to know who you are.’”
Before Norman’s next shift on May 12 — the night of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh — the bar’s DJ introduced her to the customers, who gave her a rousing round of applause.
“It was fun,” Norman, who has worked at Sens House for two years, said. “I’m a little shy, I blushed a little. People were great. They cheered. It makes you feel good.”
She admits she’s enjoying the spotlight.
“It’s my 15 minutes of fame, I want to make the most of it. It was pure luck it happened to me. I definitely want to maximize all the opportunities that come with it.”
Her newfound fame, she said, also carries a bit of a burden.
“There’s a bit of pressure at work because I can’t spill any beer at all,” said Norman, who hopes to get back to Kingston for a couple of weeks this summer. “I can’t ruin my reputation by spilling it.
“I had a very close call [since then]. I was holding a bunch of beers [pints] on a tray and people bumped into me. I set [the beers] down and carried on.”
Madison Norman, from left, Ron MacLean, Kelsie Norman and Don Cherry are seen together at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. The two young women from Kingston were interviewed by MacLean on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.