What better way to toast International Beer Day than with "The General."

The Cochrane junior hockey team has released their very own beer with a sharply designed collectible can.

Each month, the names and numbers of four General players will be featured on the can. One side features the Gens jersey and the other, the name and number of a player.

Gens president Rick Richards says there's been a strong response to the launch and some retailers have already sold out their initial supply.

"The excitement that I've seen from bar owners, restaurant owners, and liquor store owners is very high."

Cochrane's Connor Stephenson is one of the four players featured on the first set of cans.

"It's pretty cool, I'm not going to lie," says Stephenson. "Rick told me that he had this idea a couple of months ago, and I got really excited about it. It actually turned out way better than I thought it would. It's pretty awesome."

Stephenson is returning to the lineup for his final year of juniors this season. Last season, his physical play proved to be a force to be reckoned with and he finished the season fourth in scoring for the club, his best season yet in junior play.

Team captain Patrick Forde, Tristan Ripplinger, and Jordan McGinnis are also being immortalized on the first cans released. The next four players have already been selected but their names are being kept under wraps.

The beer will generate revenue for the club, but it has the added value of a marketing tool to promote the club's talent and to help rally community spirit. 

"We wanted some way to highlight players because it's all about the players, and we're always trying to develop them, and get them noticed, and usually that was for scouts. We weren't thinking as much as in the community."

The Gens have partnered with the Rocky View Brewing Company. Besides brewing the pilsner, they designed the beer cans.

"I think they look amazing," says Richards. "The designer of Lyle and Denean (Thorsen) did all that work for us in the background and the board just loved it, so we're excited."

Even if a person isn't a beer drinker, the cans are collectibles for family and fans.

"We know that grandparents are going to put it on their mantles so they can show all their buddies that their grandson plays and they have their own beer."

"The General" will also be available to enjoy at Gens home games in a controlled area.

Connor StephensonCochrane's Connor Stephenson is among the first players being featured on cans of "The General." (file photo)