Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 01/10/11 at 09:06 AM ET
Part of the talk surrounding the celebration by Team Russia after winning the gold medal at the World Juniors tournament in Buffalo was actually the media coverage of the story (or non-story, depending on who you ask).
Contrary to those who think this was all about making a big deal out of nothing, local news outlets didn’t overdo the drinking and partying of the Russian kids after their epic win, because that wasn’t even the main point of the story.
A group of unruly people got kicked off of an airplane. If it were a bunch of kids coming back from a binge at Fallsview casino, or some drunken businessmen stumbling out of town after a conference at the Hyatt Regency, it still would’ve gotten top billing on local newscasts.
There’s a grievous anniversary of major proportions coming up eight months from Tuesday. Anytime there’s an incident on an airplane, even with zero connotation of terrorism, it gets a lot of attention. You can roll your eyes at it when it happens if you like, but that’s how it is in 2010.
And if that isn’t enough, New York State appreciates establishments with liquor licenses serving people under 21 about as much as Chris Pronger appreciates an opposing forward hanging around Philly’s goal crease taking whacks at the goalie’s pads.
The hotel in question is under investigation for possibly serving minors. Again, the fact that it just happened to be the Russian national junior hockey team isn’t the main point. It may not be big news to some people, but for a number of bar owners, hotel officials and parents, it’s kind of a big deal.
To be honest, most of the local reporters, radio personalities and hockey fans saw this story for what it was - just a happy group of young hockey players that got a little crazy after winning a monumental game. And as it turned out, we took a liking to these kids and kind of adopted them for a day while they stayed here waiting for their hangovers to wear off.
We saw their soft side and realized that, despite being among the best teenage hockey players in the world, they are first and foremost just teenagers. They’re so young and yet they created so much buzz and brought a busload of energy to an event that many hockey fans in Buffalo and around the world won’t soon forget.
In a town that’s never accused of being too exciting, that’s definitely something to celebrate.
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