Thursday, May 10, 2012

Junior hockey teams forced to share plane ride after brawling on ice

In order to save money, the Western Hockey league (WHL) is forcing the two teams deadlocked in their fight-filled championship series to travel on the same plane between games.

The Portland Winterhawks and the Edmonton Oil Kings are tied, 2-2, in the top junior hockey league championship series and there is no love lost between them.

While the bitter rivals have been pounding each other on the ice, between games, the WHL had the bright idea of seating the bloodied players on the same plane for the 962 mile journey between cities as a way to save cash.

On the first tension-filled charter flight, the two teams— from cities in different countries—  had to be divided by members of the media and league officials who sat as a human buffer between the players.

The movie "Slap Shot" couldn't have scripted this any better.

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The cost-cutting solution has led to some to question if putting rival players in a confined space, 30,000 feet in the air is a good idea.   Remember you're dealing with two teams of combustible teenagers and 20-somethings who could go off at the drop of a word or sideways look.

Even the coaches aren't happy with each other after Edmonton's Derek Laxdal complained about a Portland cheap shot leveled at one of his players during a 4-3 loss.

According to the Portland Oregonian, there was "not a lot of socializing" on the initial flight.

It sounds like they'll have to convert one of the plane's restrooms into a penalty box.

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