I can say a lot about what happened here last Tuesday night.
Unless you’ve had your head stuck in a gopher hole this past week, you probably have heard about “the incident” that occurred between the Borderland Thunder and Dryden Ice Dogs at the end of their game at the Ice for Kids Arena.
I was there. I saw. I heard. And I have my own opinions on what happened in what I’m dubbing “The Full Moon Brawl.” But I’d prefer to leave it in your hands.
So I’ve decided to pull some of the comments the story has received on our website (www.fortfrances.com).
At last check, almost 50 comments had been written, with some including their names and others not (I’ve chosen to leave them as anonymous).
None of the comments used have been altered (though some have been shortened). And, of course since this is my column (I know I said I would leave it in your hands but . . .), I have taken the liberty of responding to a few of the commentators.
Warning: You must be over 18 years old, or accompanied by an adult, before reading the following:
•I see by reading this article that the only person who even shows any remorse for what happened is Larry Wintoneak [Dryden’s head coach]. That sure shows a lot for those of you who think Mr. Dave Allison [Thunder’s head coach] is all that.
And what kind of coach, be it a head coach or assistant, would make the comment, “They got what they deserved, they have had it coming”? This coach should be released of all his duties and I, for one, hope that Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO) will look into this comment further.
This is not the type of person I would want coaching my child.
•There should be an option in the poll here to the effect of “Maybe I’ll start attending games now, at least Dryden and Fort Frances games.”
(Last week’s web poll in the Times was: Are you less likely to attend a Thunder game in the wake of the Feb. 22 brawl?, with options of, No! I love the Thunder games, Yes! Violence is unacceptable, or, No answer—I’m still mourning the NHL season. The leading vote-getter at press time was, Yes! Violence is unacceptable).
•It’s a conspiracy, they both want out of the SIJHL so this is their excuse! If I were in charge of the HNO, I’d be glad to get rid of teams that make mockery of a game that USED to be good … that is, until fans started showing up or tuning in to see fights instead of actual hockey. . . .
•Coaches that fight should be suspended for the season and the playoffs. Period. You guys are unprofessional idiots, both of you. Your job is to keep your players’ emotions in check, and if you can’t do it yourself, how do you expect anyone else to do the same?
Stupid is as stupid does. I hope you both get charged by the OPP.
(The incident is still under investigation).
•The simple fact of this matter is that if a stick didn’t fly into the Thunder bench and Coach Wintoneak hadn’t left his bench and approached the Thunder bench, the players would have settled it on the ice.
If Coach Wintoneak was a real man, he would have chosen to settle this off the ice. Coach Wintoneak instigated this entirely without thinking and I think he, his staff, and now his players realize it.
(I agree that if the stick had not been thrown, then I wouldn’t be writing this column, but remember—it takes two to tango, even if one person doesn’t know the steps).
•I don’t think you Dogs’ fans get it. If you disrespect anyone, expect it back tenfold. If you can’t ice a team that’s not tough enough, don’t act tough.
•For those who actually attended the game the night the brawl happened, the real story played out in front of you and I think the colour of your favourite team’s jerseys skewed your perspective.
Did anyone happen to notice that two of the three fighters from the Thunder were on the ice for almost the remaining two minutes of the game? I think a message was about to sent, but Allison was the one who ended up on the receiving end.
Dryden can take some blame, but the Thunder were looking for a fight.
•There is no real winner. It doesn’t matter who beat up who more. Let’s just try to play real hockey and get over the testosterone build-up.
•You know what they say about Fort refs, eh? If you can beat the reffing, you can beat the team!
(I think the referees had called an excellent game. They didn’t throw the stick, they didn’t step onto the ice to fight, and they didn’t throw any punches. And besides, how can you expect three officials to control the actions of 40 riled-up players?)
•The Thunder did not have to look for the fight. It was thrown at them. I was at both games (both teams played in Dryden the following night) and I sat directly across from both benches and saw the whole thing.
Maybe if the Dryden coaching staff had some class, their players would, too. Dryden always gave had dirty fighters, they just get away with it more due to one-sided referees!
•If you were at the game, you would have seen the fight started with Clayton Windigo [of the Thunder] sucker punching Jamie Davis [of the Ice Dogs] when the linesman was holding Davis’ arms.
•The ignorance of the fans in the Town of Fort Frances is incredible. Blame the ref. Blame the ref.
What’s even funnier is that every time the Thunder actually lose a game, you can read the paper and I can guarantee there’s a quote somewhere in there that says it was the ref’s fault.
Taking responsibility must be a concept some aren’t too familiar with. If you’re all such critics of the job the referees do, why don’t you give it a shot? I’m sure you must be the answer the town is looking for!
(I might have a feeling on who wrote this comment).
•Sounds you guys got a heck of a league over there. I’m used to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), where tough guys can actually skate, where elite players get “scholarships” to play NCAA hockey.
At least Coach Wintoneak regrets what happened, seems like few others do. Larry deserves to coach again. Coach Allison, on the other hand, will sink to an even lower level than the SIJHL, if there is one.
•Of course Dryden does not like Ian Lockman. . . . He beats up their players!
•The only sucker punches were thrown from the Thunder. It’s pretty bad when a player sucker punches when the officials are holding the player he punches.
If this is the way Allison and Windigo fight, they should wear dresses.
•Did the guy reporting on the happenings lose his white cane just before the game started?
(I certainly hope not).
I can say a lot about what happened here last Tuesday night.