October 15, 2010
On Tuesday, we told you about a massive brawl in the Central Hockey League that left defenseman Dave Van Drunen of the Odessa Jackalopes with a broken face, Brad MacMillan of the Colorado Eagles facing potential criminal charges and blood that needed to be scraped off the ice.
This week, the CHL announced a number of suspensions in the aftermath of the brawl. From The Denver Channel:
The Central Hockey League has fined both teams an undisclosed amount. The money will be donated to Wilbur's Fund for Women With Breast Cancer in Northern Colorado, the CHL said. CHL also suspended MacMillan for 22 games.
The head coach for the Odessa team, Paul Gillis, and the Eagles' assistant coach, Greg Pankewicz, who was acting as head coach during the Oct. 9 game, were both suspended for three games.
Eagles defenseman George Bradley was suspended five games for another fight and fined, and Colorado defenseman Mario Joly was suspended four games for leaving the players bench. Joly is accused of leaving the bench and challenging Odessa players to come off their bench and fight.
"We are very disappointed with the actions that took place on Saturday night in Colorado," said Duane Lewis, CHL commissioner. "This in no way reflects CHL hockey and we feel the appropriate parties have been held accountable. These incidents are not condoned by the league and will not be tolerated."
The good news for the CHL and its image: No criminal charges are going to be filed in the aftermath of this thing. Here's a News 9 report:
The news report mentioned a "joint statement" by the teams. Coming up, that joint statement ... with a little added context from Puck Daddy.
Here's what the Jacks and the Eagles had to tell the fans. Sadly, this was not written in Comic Sans:
"And any law enforcement officials we may have met in the last several days."
On the behalf of the Central Hockey League, both the Odessa Jackalopes and Colorado Eagles would like to say Thank You for attending last Saturday nights game at the BEC.
Look, we're not a bunch of Conan The Grammarians here, but an apostrophe fail in the first line? Really?
It was unfortunate the way this event unfolded. Regretfully, the emotions became very elevated during our preseason contest and an outstanding player was injured. While we cannot change the past,
"At least without the benefit of a DeLorean, a flux capaciter and 1.21 GigaWatts ..."
we can only more forward and learn from this incident.
"For instance, we need more blood shovelers. We have blood sweepers, but only one shoveler. We're working together and with the CHL to correct this oversight."
From the front office, to the coaches, to the players, the game of hockey has always been a physical, emotional, and passionate sport for all of us. We are happy to announce that the money from the fines that were collected by the CHL from both organizations will be donated to the fight against breast cancer that the Eagles were supporting during that Saturday night game.
So the massive, nearly criminal line brawl not only occurred during a preseason game but during a breast cancer fundraiser? That must have made the postgame concert from an Indigo Girls cover band awkward.
Odessa Jackalopes co-owner, Rick Gasser, was the one who made the decision for the Odessa players to leave the ice and forfeit the contest. Not head coach Paul Gillis. Rick and the Jackalopes organization apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused to the passionate fans of Northern Colorado.
"The way things were headed, you may have been treated to a live execution by the end of the third. We apologize for depriving that."
The Jackalopes want to thank the staff at the Budweiser Events Center for handling Saturday's events and getting Dave Van Drunen to the hospital carefully and quickly. The treatment he, and all of us, received by the staff at the Rocky Mountain Medical Center was first class. Dave is at home with his wife and children, he is in good spirits, and he is looking forward to returning to the ice this season. The Jackalopes would also like to thank the Eagles fans that took the time to send their well wishes to Dave, his family, and the Jackalopes organization.
"Because the Eagles themselves broke his face."
"I want the Eagles and the Jackalopes to move forward and prepare for our seasons. We look forward to coming back to the BEC December 9th and 10th to showcase our hockey team in front of your sold out building. Please do not let the emotions of one night keep anyone away from our game also continue to support the Eagles and the Jackalopes this season. Thank you to the Eagles for their hospitality during training camp." -- Rick Gasser
"Yes, please don't let the potential for bloody retribution in a violent spectacle not seen since the last CHL line brawl keep you away from the rink."
The Eagles have worked hard since their inception to develop a culture of professional, entertaining, and winning hockey. The Eagles would like thank the Odessa Jackalopes for their understanding, and their work to move on from this situation to the start of the new season. For the players of every team, preseason games are a chance to make an impression ...
Just ask Dave Van Drunen's face. (rim shot)
... and earn jobs playing professional hockey. Unfortunately on Saturday, the physicality and emotion of making those impressions took a turn that no one could have predicted. Once again the Colorado Eagles wish Dave Van Drunen a full recovery.
"Rick is the exact DNA of an owner that loves and protects his players just as we love and protect our Colorado Eagles ....
"Rick is the exact DNA"? WTF? Oh, wait, we got it. Here's an image of Rick Gasser from the movie "Jurassic Park":
"... Rick and I have moved on with the utmost respect for each others organization just as our great fans would expect and deserve. We are looking forward to welcoming the Jackalopes back to Northern Colorado to continue the fun, competitive contests we've had played over the last few years." -- Martin Lind
"You know ... outside of the occasional face breaking."
After discussing this matter with the CHL and the Colorado Eagles , the Odessa Jackalopes have agreed to withdraw their request for any criminal charges to be placed against any Eagles' personnel.
Both the Jackalopes and the Eagles are ready to move forward from this event, and we invite the fans of the CHL to move forward with us.
"Well, except for you, Brad MacMillan. You're on your ass for a bit."
The 2010-11 season should be an exciting time for everyone with all the new changes that have occurred throughout the Central Hockey League.
Good luck to everyone this season, and we hope that all the teams around the hockey world can learn from the mistakes that were made on Saturday night.
"Like when Odessa had its players leave the ice, allowing a local paper to use the headline "JACKS OFF IN PRESEASON BRAWL."*
And your friends at Puck Daddy.
* Not an actual headline. Sadly.