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Mother of fencer claims London Knights cost her daughter world cup opportunity

The Kingstone Courtyard MarriottWhen you hear stories of junior hockey road trips, typically they don't end up being about pillow fights and "twisted games of hide-and-go-seek." But maybe the London Knights prefer to travel differently, and while they're at it, allegedly ruined the chances of a 15-year-old girl to compete at the world championships in fencing.

Or at least that's the story coming out of Kingston this week. This past weekend, the team was on an Eastern Conference road trip and earned wins over the 67s and Frontenacs which bookended a 3-1 loss to Belleville on Saturday night. The night before the one loss, they stayed at a hotel in Kingston, where the team was reportedly up quite late, according to one restless neighbour and her daughter:

Laurie-Anne Manel said that she and her 15-year-old daughter Paige were staying at the Marriott Courtyard on Dalton Avenue on Friday night as Paige was competing in the Canada Cup fencing tournament at the Royal Military College.

She says that players from the Ontario Hockey League squad were acting rowdy and after she complained, turned it up a notch by body checking the door to her room and making their displeasure clearly known.

She also blames the incident for her daughter missing out on a chance to compete at the worlds.

As a result, the Knights have issued an apology. [Kingston Whig-Standard]

We know how pesky players like Matt Rupert and Max Domi can be on the ice, but how about off it? The biggest enforcers in the OHL can't knock them off their game, and I surely doubt a few body checks to a hotel room wall would calm them down at any rate. Apparently the group didn't settle down until 1 a.m., and Manel's daughter didn't fence that morning at Royal Military College due to being too fatigued. The family had driven 14 hours from a suburb of Washington D.C. for her daughter to compete in a Canada Cup sabre event.

The team also interrupted a pizza delivery and an attempted laundry run. Head coach Dale Hunter had to call a team meeting, but downplayed the incident, saying it was "just kids playing around, wrestling and stuff." If the Knights are "just kids" it seems odd that they were left without any kind of adult supervision at the hotel.

She said she was told the team's coaches were coming back to the hotel to deal with the issue but no one spoke to her until Saturday morning.

“No one came to the hotel and matters continued to escalate,” wrote Manel,“culminating with the door to my room being body checked, pounded on and verbiage that I felt was intended to be threatening, including profanity and abusive language.”

...

The team's captain Scott Harrington, a Kingston native, was also not at the hotel as he was spending time with his family.[Kingston Whig-Standard]

Assistant general manager Rob Simpson called Manel to apologize, but she told the Kingston Whig-Standard that the apology didn't sound sincere and had a few choice quotes about the state of kids today, really.

"Is this the role model that the OHL seeks to project?"

“It was their total lack of respect for other athletes as well. Everyone should be entitled to peace, quiet and respect.” she said.

The daughter did win a bronze medal on Sunday in a senior division competition. Matt Fry, the general manager of the Mariott, stressed that his hotel was "not an amusement park".

I suspect appropriate discipline has been handled internally.

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