Monday, 6 March 2017

Mike Milbury Would Be Proud

We're a few years away from the 40th anniversary of the above incident where Boston's Mike Milbury climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden and brawled with fans before hitting a fan with a shoe. That game happened on December 23, 1979, and it's a moment that neither Mike Milbury nor the NHL is particularly proud of, but it's now a part of NHL history. Seeing players go into the crowd is increasingly rare in today's game, but one player tried to recreate the insanity seen in New York with his actions on Saturday.

We go to Lord Beaverbrook Rink in Saint John, New Brunswick for this tale of craziness a fan in the crowd captured this video using a cell phone. It was the fifth and final game in the best-of-five series between the the Southern Sting and the Grand Lake Moose of the New Brunswick Junior B Hockey League when a Grand Lake player sitting in the penalty box began receiving taunts following a donnybrook on the ice in the third period. The player responded by reaching over the glass with his stick and whacking a fan on the head which prompted a fan to dump a beer on the player in the penalty box. And that's when all hell broke loose.

Before clicking the video, a couple of warnings: TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN because one of the fans is screaming like a banshee at the start of the video, and there is some PG-rated language in the video. View at your discretion. Here we go.
If it matters, Southern went on to win 4-2 to advance to the final, but it took police some 20 minutes to restore order and allow the game to finish. With players and fans wondering what the league will do, it was little surprise that NBJHL president Sheldon Hay didn't have much to comment on following the game.

"We are waiting for the referee's report," he told CBC's Gail Harding, adding that a committee from the league will assess everything according to the league rules before making their decisions on what will happen to the teams and players involved.

Honestly, this is ugly. The Grand Lake player is partly responsible for reaching over the glass into the crowd with his stick, and the fans are responsible for the taunts and beer pouring. I'll credit Southern for bringing on more security for the NBJHL final, but don't be surprised if alcohol sales are banned for the final in the Southern rink. The guy wailing like a banshee sounded like he may have had some adult beverages, so I can only imagine the mob mentality that happened before the camera started recording.

I would not be proud of yourselves, Sting fans. This isn't what hockey is about.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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