Sometimes it’s helpful to see things from the other side. I’m now following Paul Stewart on Twitter, and he offers some insight into what’s going on with the officials on the ice.
I don’t usually think about the fact that the officials have a history with the coaches and team management as well as the players. Paul Stewart doesn’t officiate on ice any more, but this entry in his blog does illustrate how the refs and linesmen might have some preconceived notions about a particular team.
The fighting duties were left to me. In 16 games, I scored a pair of goals and had 92 penalty minutes. I wasn’t too happy about it, either.
One night in Portland, we were playing the Maine Mariners; the Flyers’ affiliate. They were a tough team filled with guys who fought regularly. I tried in vain to fire up the team by stirring the pot before the drop of the puck. Big, big mistake.
I got jumped by a gang of Mariners and was left all alone on the ice to get my butt kicked. I was a bloody mess but screamed at the Maine players to keep bringing it on. They did — mercilessly. By the end, both of my eyes were swollen shut and I was still standing with my fists cocked, with my own blood streaming. I could only swing blindly by that point. When it was finally over, Coates helped me off the ice.Not one of my teammates came to my aid. The most anyone did was pair off and hold onto a Maine player away from the six-on-one.
One of the Firebirds players who stayed as far away as possible was Mike Gillis — then a Rockies’ first-round pick making a brief AHL stop on his way to their NHL team, and now the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.