May 28, 2005

When Hosting A National Tournament, Make Sure To Tell Visiting Teams Where To Find The Local Sports Store

It's in print now, does that make it more believable? From the Ottawa Sun Chris Stevenson writes, Skategate II with Knights rankles 67's, Patafie.

LONDON -- Call it Skategate II.

67's trainer Brian Patafie is livid after the London Knights refused to let him fix the skate of Ottawa defenceman Brad Staubitz during their game Thursday night, causing the 67's star blueliner to miss almost a full period of hockey.

Patafie accused Knights VP and GM Mark Hunter of kicking him out of the Knights' equipment room and denying access to a riveting machine so the 67's would be deprived of Staubitz' services.

"Their equipment manager (Chris Maton) asked to come into our room (yesterday morning). He wanted to apologize," said Patafie. "He said it was Mark Hunter -- now verbatim -- he said Mark Hunter said, 'That is one of their best players. This is a life or death game. I don't want him in there. (Bleep) him. He's not going to play. If they can't fix his skate, he's not going to play.'

"I said to their equipment manager, 'Look, I'm going to get a copy of our roster. I need you to take it up to Mark Hunter and have him highlight the guys I'm okay to fix their equipment. It's absurd. This is the pinnacle? This tournament?

"They have done a fantastic job. An unbelievable job. This will just put a black mark on it."

Hunter disputed Patafie's claims.

"He came into our room without anybody and you can't just tell a stick boy or somebody you're going into the other team's dressing room," Hunter said. "Chris Maton helped him out, got it fixed and that was the end of that."

Staubitz broke the steel blade on his skate about eight minutes into the game, said Patafie.

It is protocol that the home team allow the visiting team's trainer access to things like the riveting machine, which is too big to bring on the road.

Patafie started to fix Staubitz' skate, but said he was confronted by Knights assistant GM Jim McKellar and a man Patafie identified as the Knights' team liaison, but could not name.

"(McKellar) came in and said, 'We want you out of the room.' I said, 'Well, I've got to fix this skate,' and he said: 'No, you are to leave this room.'

"I told matter of factly that he would have to physically throw me out of room because I'm not leaving and he said, 'Well, if that's what it was going to take.' I continued to do it and then (the liaison) came over and sort of bumped me.

"The bottom line is I told him I'd leave when there was one minute left in the period. I don't want to be in their room when the team comes in. Thing was, I could have had it done if they had just backed off."


Patafie said Maton finished changing the steel during the intermission, but Staubitz was further delayed when he had to wait for a break in the play to get back on the ice in the second period.

To make matters worse, Staubitz' blades didn't match. The 67's finally got the entire moulding and blade changed at a local sporting goods store yesterday morning.

"I couldn't believe it," said Staubitz. "I couldn't believe we couldn't get into the equipment room for me to get my skate fixed. I just missed a bit of the game ... all the first period."

This adds to the bad blood between the 67's and Knights, who could meet in the Memorial Cup final tomorrow.


The OHL final was marked by "Skategate" when the Knights complained to the league about the Overdrive blades on the skates of Ottawa goaltender Danny Battochio. The league ruled he had to take them off.

Patafie said when Sudbury had a problem with its skate sharpener in the second round, 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea instructed him to loan Ottawa's to the Wolves.

"He told them they could take ours home for Game 5," said Patafie.

"That's the difference. That's the difference between the Hall of Fame and the hall of shame."

Everything's okay as long as it's in the name of winning!

Can you imagine the stink this would have caused if it had of been Crosby's skate that we're discussing? Or C. Perry? Oh hell, anyone besides an Ottawa player (because Ottawa is really an inconsequential nuisance team that doesn't really matter).

The new Hunter rule: Teams hosting a major event (such as the Memorial Cup) must set up an equipment room that all visiting teams may use without the interference of the home team. Go ahead Branch. Obviously it needs to be written up now.

And here's what others say, plus some pre-game news:

From the Globe and Mail Tim Wharnsby writes, Ottawa 67's snubbed.

From the Toronto Sun Terry Koshan writes, Skategate: 67's trainer cries foul. Snippet:

Controversy reigns at the 2005 Memorial Cup.

Well, sort of. Ottawa 67's trainer Brian Patafie said yesterday he was told to stop using a skate rivet machine in the London Knights' dressing room during the round-robin game Thursday night between the two teams. Patafie was fixing a skate for defenceman Brad Staubitz when he was told, allegedly through orders from Knights general manager Mark Hunter because "Staubitz is too important a player," to stop and leave the room.

"I didn't say that," Hunter said. "You can't just tell a stick boy or somebody you're going into the team's dressing room. Chris Maton (the Knights' equipment manager) helped him out, got it fixed and that was the end of it."

Patafie said the skate was not properly fixed until yesterday morning, and Staubitz had to play with skate blades of different widths.

Koshan also writes, Time flies for Crosby. And, Crosby is rough 'n ready.

From the Toronto Sun Ken Fidlin writes, Battochio in survival mode. Snippets:

If he can get through the warmup tonight without being killed by his own teammates, Ottawa goalie Dan Battochio may well be a decisive factor in the Memorial Cup, sudden-death semi-final against the Rimouski Oceanic

[. . .]

When Ottawa played Rimouski Tuesday, Crosby had a big target pasted on his shirt and you can expect more of the same tonight. Either that or Crosby will bury them with his skill. But Kilrea disputes that Crosby is the only player singled out.

"If you followed (Ottawa forward) Julian Talbot around with a camera, you'd probably see the same abuse that he's taking. Everybody's trying to protect Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry but (Thursday) Julian Talbot had his helmet knocked off three times. No penalty.

"We have some guys that are taking abuse, too. Unfortunately, they're just not as big a name as (Crosby)."

From the London Free Press Jim Kernaghan writes, Knights deny 'Skategate' accusation.

From the London Free Press Ryan Pyette writes, Ottawa can't get any respect.

From the Ottawa Citizen Donna Spencer writes, Sidney Crosby and the Oceanic prepare for Ottawa in Memorial Cup semifinal.

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