Meet the Canucks fans and UBC engineering students who designed an innovative shotgunning tool for #ShotgunJake

Videos of Canucks fans shotgunning beers have been a staple on social media the past two seasons thanks mostly to a listener of TSN1040’s morning show featuring Mike Halford and Jason Brough, where the idea manifested. It’s been dubbed the #ShotgunJake movement and Jake Virtanen was even showed a montage of clips during his appearance on CBC’s After Hours.

In case you’re not already aware, the premise is Canucks fans recording themselves shotgunning a beer whenever Virtanen scores a goal, then posting that video to Twitter. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Now in the case of this Canucks fan, who has become one of the main faces of the #ShotgunJake movement, he’s able to puncture the can with his thumb, but the majority of people need a tool to help them get a good opening at the bottom of the can.

That’s where Yohan Cho, Cole Robertson, and Kevin Yeganeh — three mechanical engineering students at the University of British Columbia — came up with the idea for The Pump Action. They’re also Canucks fans who absolutely love the Shotgun Jake movement.

“Kevin, Cole and I go to UBC together, and we always had the idea of starting a business together or developing a product. We love to go to the Gallery at UBC after classes and have a beer,” said Yohan Cho. “Cole came up with the idea; he bought a PVC pipe from Home Depot, put a hole in it along with some nuts and bolts, and it just took off from there.”

Their final prototype — seen on the far right in the picture above — is much more sophisticated in both design and function than their original prototype, seen on the left.

The pump function was important for the design, as the trio decided early that pumping the side to puncture the can would be what set them apart from traditional shotgunning tools, most of which attach to a keychain, but don’t always work perfectly.

“It’s a shotgunning tool, and shotguns typically have a pump-action to them, so we thought it would be really cool if people actually got to do the cocking of it, just like you see in the movies and all that. We didn’t come up with the ‘spin it’ idea until later on. Originally, it was just a puncturing tool — you had to take the can out after and put your mouth on the can — but then we realized we could make it more sanitary, especially in the age of Covid-19,” said Cho. “Some people might not want to put their lips on a can that’s potentially been handled by many people, and I’ve never met anyone who sanitizes their beer cans. That’s when we added the hole on the other side so people could shotgun directly from the tool.”

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Here’s a slow-mo of The Pump Action in action:

Manufacturing is going to begin in August, but before that, Cho, Robertson, and Yeganeh were building the tools themselves using 3D printers in their basement. “After a few prototypes, we still weren’t sure if we were going to be able to sell any, but after we got a lot of interest we opened an online store in mid-June,” said Cho. “Then we sold almost 120, and we thought ‘holy crap, there’s no way we can print this many’. Making these with a 3D printer takes about 10 hours each, just to make one. So we bought three more 3D printers — we had five in total — and were literally just making them out of our basement. Interest grew and we decided we had to find a manufacturer. The 3D printing was a good way to get proof of concept and figure out if there was even a market for this.”

Oddly enough, their main interest has been through purchases coming from the United States, but Cho is hoping it gains more traction in Vancouver soon.

“I’ve been a Canucks fan my whole life, and I absolutely love all the shotgun Jake videos, even just the small Twitter accounts posting the videos, or seeing fans at the arena chugging back a beer, I just love the community aspect of it all. I think it’s right up there with the white towel for Canucks’ traditions. I wanted to make a tool for Canucks fans,” said Cho. “Hopefully Jake plays in these playoffs and fans get to shotgun during the summer.”

“I want this tool to bring Canucks fans together even more and shotgunning has already done that. Every team has its traditions, and this is a very cool one for Canucks fans.”

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Cho (middle), Robertson (left), and Yeganeh (right) have set up a Kickstarter campaign which further outlines the development process, and will provide updates on future developments. You can check that out here.