storm: Ranger Fan Apologizes

Storm Blogger


  • Tony Saxon is the Guelph Mercury's beat writer covering the Guelph Storm. Tony has been a print journalist for almost 20 years and last year his hockey writing landed him a nomination for a 2006 Ontario Newspaper Association award for sportswriting. Tony can be reached at

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March 25, 2013

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Comments

Brandon Rieck

John Bayley, yelling at players coming onto the ice and off the ice is what makes our arena so hard to play in. If you dont like it I suggest moving up to a different section where you wont be so hurt over hearing this stuff. When players play dirty the fans turn it up a notch. There was a reason there was a half dozen guelph players in the box at the end of last nights game. They were dirty and they got what they had comming to them.

TB

This guy is avoiding the reason why the antics were going on in the first place... Mr Walker.. being a former NHLer should learn what playing the game with respect is... you are correct these kids do want to get to the next step... but the way #22 carried on the ice.. he should be ashamed... us the fans pay our hard earned money to watch these "kids" play... before you send apology letters you should wait and see how your treated in guelph... thats if you going... my friends and I have been to nearly every OHL barn... take last yr in Owen Sound.. those fans were throwing things at the players and fans... so pretty sure some harsh words for some professional atheletes is perfectly acceptable in my book.

Jim

I would agree with John regarding if any threats were made or criminal acts. If you are to throw something into the bench, think about it. Would you do it if there was no glass between the two parties? I would say no. On the flip side, I sit behind the Guelph Storm bench and had a rude Guelph storm fan yelling and screaming all game in front of my 6 year old. We refrained from saying anything and looking back, should have.
At the end - we are all responsible for our actions. The Guelph Storm led by Coach Walker is a disgrace to the league. The intent to injure in "both" games to Ryan Murphy is a classless act. Coupled with multiple ejections with "a" on their jerseys and penalties is outrageous. Walker cannot say he's the boss behind the bench and distance himself from the on ice antics. Where is the league regarding this conduct?

Craig

There are definitely fans who, on a regular basis, take things way too far yelling obscenities at players, at the coaching staff and at the officials. I know this well because I am a seasons ticket holder and I witness this a couple times a month. There are 2 'fans' who sit near me who constantly do this and it serves as a reminder to me to never be like them.

But last night was very strange and I can only speak to what was happening around me behind the Guelph bench. There were two idiots sitting in the row in front of me who normally don't sit there, and they looked to be highly intoxicated. Now, I tend to drink a bit at the game, but never do I get to the point where I can't control my actions. One of these bozos jumped up on the boards, shaking the glass and yelling at the Guelph players. He was promptly ejected along with his friend.

What I think set everyone off (me included), was that one or a few of the Guelph players shot water over the glass hitting a lot of us in the first few rows. They were obviously responding to the obscenities being hurled at them, but that just made things worse. I did not see anyone spit or throw beer at the Guelph bench. (FYI beer is only allowed in the seats on the 2nd level of the Aud, making it really tough to hit the bench from there)

There are definitely some fans and players on the Guelph who should feel some shame today.

Craig

My last sentence was a bit garbled, let me fix it:

There are definitely some Kitchener fans, and players on the Guelph team who should feel some shame today.

TB

Well tommorow at the game i expect nothing but kind words from the Guelph players and fans if they are so professional... heres the thing.. if the refs get the game under control early and do not turn a blind eye to both sides infractions.. it will lead to bedlam... Walker knows his team has no shot at winning the OHL title this year so he says hey lets go after the captain. Also, regarding sparks... sitting in the second row behind his net i witnessed him remove his mask and challenge puempel to a fight.. then decides to "pull himself"...Nishi comes in and looks good.. start him game 3 IMO

LV

Thanks for posting this Tony. If anything, it has garnered the exact reaction and commentary from (I'm hoping a minority of) Ranger fans that would typically be expected - embarrassment in a situation often leads to defensive accusations towards the opposite side in an attempt to deflect or circumvent the embarassment. I'm hoping you don't take down my post due to its length, but I understand your comments earlier this year regarding that.

Come on folks - let's be human here. These are young kids, 16-20 years old, playing a game - it has no bearing on how the lives of the rest of us play out. Is it really necessary for adults to take out the frustrations of their own past failures by hurling things at and spitting upon young folks who are trying to make their way to a career on ice? You (and I speak to both Ranger and Storm fans), as spectators, have absolutely no control over what happens on the ice - players, referess, coaches - none of it. When it gets to a point that a select few people decide to be rather violent by spitting, throwing beer, what-have-you on another visiting team, then it's time to take a long look in the mirror and figure out what is really important in your life. Did you feel better for yourself in acting out this way?

I'm a proud Storm fan, and have been disappointed in some of the late game antics of my own team in the last couple of games - I know that it did not help their cause and likely hindered it. On the other hand, in my past life, I've been on the ice during similar playoff situations, and I understand how things can unravel as emotion and frustration takes over - it's not always the coach directing the reaction - sometimes the players take on a life of their own regardless of what is said in the dressing room or on the bench. I've seen numerous instances where Scott Walker likely would have liked to grab his own players and shake some sense into them.

However, if Storm fans act over the next two games like Ranger Fans did in last night's debacle, I will be truly disappointed and ashamed that things got that far. And, I will be back on this blog commenting the same if I see that type of behaviour in the Sleeman Centre the next two games. I can tell you I and my wife were at the Aud for a regular season (yes, regular season) game last year (and we are very quiet fans) and experienced the same treatment described by John Bayley in his letter; unfortunately we will never return there, even though I think the rink has tremendous history, character and ambience - what could have been a good experience was lost in the chaff. That some fans choose to override the charm of their own building is disappointing to say the least.

John Bayley wrote a courageous letter, and he should be commended for it. Unfortunately, the people that he pointed out in that letter are highly unlikely to read it or reflect upon its wording, and if they did, they would likely scoff at it anyways.

Let's leave it on the ice people - it's about the players, not about you.

M

Okay, I will start by saying the obviously swearing, spitting and throwing things are not acceptable behaviour, especially when there are young children watching. However, clever comments and heckling are a different story. Hockey is a game that is played in front of fans. If these players didn't want to play in front of a crowd, they would have played houseleague their whole life or not played at all. Hockey is about the atmosphere of the building, the energy of the crowd, and the intensity that comes from it. Ever heard of the Philadelphia Flyers? I guarantee that when Garret Sparks goes to play there as a Leaf, things will be 100% worse for him. He may as well get used to it now, because it's part of the career path he has chosen, just the same as any other player. It's a part of the game. There is a reason it's called "home ice advantage". The fans are supposed to be the 6th attacker. That means making it tough for opponents to play there. If that involves getting under the players' skin, so be it. It's playoff hockey, folks. PLAYOFFS. That means intensity, passion, and support for your team. If you don't like it, then maybe you should try a different sport.

LV

I have no problem with heckling and chirping - that is, I agree, part of the game -whether it's player to player or fans heckling. You step over the line when you jump on the glass, throw beer and other projectiles, and spit on the players as a fan. I also have a problem with fans intimidating fans from other rinks - I'm not talking good-natured ribbing, etc. - I'm talking about verbally abusing other people - I know for a fact that fans have been threatened with violence ("Wanna punch in the head?" "I should take you out now for wearing that jersey in here.."). Let's not gloss this over - there is an expectation for some verbal jostling, and there is also a line that crosses into what could potentially be a criminal charge - and a Ranger fan called that line in his letter - too bad some some Ranger fans can't discern where that line is. Good on John Bayley for knowing what the difference is, and I hope he represents the majority of Ranger fans out there.

senjangolfer

Mr. Bayley,
I choose to think that you are sincere in your comments. Some would say that some of your comment were designed to bring out the tirade that followed your words obviously penned by those same people who apparently brought you to the point of apologizing.
My Wife and I were at both games in Kitchener after a hiatus of over three years. Back then we attended a fair number of games at the Aud but after learning to chirp back at the KW fans an unfortunate incident happened. This seemed to be very funny to the Rangers fans around us but it was not funny to us. One "gentleman", who seemed to be unable to take rebuttal to what he was dishing out, poured a beer into my parka hood with out me knowing it. When we got up to leave the presence of the beer became abundantly obvious.
Friends from Cambridge convinced us to go to the two games just past. They are the last games I’ll ever attend in that building your apology not withstanding. As o joke at the end of Sunday’s game when Garret Sparks was named the third star the boos that went up all around us was ridiculous and I countered it with a stage whisper to my friends now as they announced the Rangers select as star “Is it now our turn to boo?” The four of us laughed and applauded the selection as is always out habit as loyal fans of the game.
Those Ranger fans who, like you Mr. Bayley, have witnessed the abusive antics of so many Ranger fans with sorrow in their hearts, are to be consoled. Kitchener has a long and glorious history in hockey but that is fast being obliterated by the current actions of too large a majority claiming it is part of the game.

Section 102

I was in the Aud on Sunday, as part of a small group of STORM fans. The usher in our section showed little interest in the conduct of the fans, & was very focused on watching the game. I will say this as my own experience. I think the usher must monitor conduct & ensure the rules of the facility are enforced. If this is happening through out the arena, then there is little wonder that fans can get carried away. I like the idea of the ushers moving up & down the aisle (during stoppages) to at least suggest to the fans that their conduct is being monitored.

Sean

It's not just Kitchener fans who think their team is 'god's gift to mankind' London, Windsor just as bad or worse. Friendly taunts sure but Respect for each other is a human trait and there was none yesterday.

dedicated

I applaude Mr. Bailey for writting that letter and must say Thank you for it. You will NEVER see the Ranger administration EVER apologizing. Big Steve B from front office just sits there and counts the teams money. I have not gone to the Kitcherer aud for the simple reason I do not want to be verbally abused and harrased. I have not and will never go to London beacause I see how the London fans ar ein Guelph. A few years ago they started a fight in the Sleman centre at the top of the stairs. Can you imanage what they would do to you there. Enough said lets get back to hockey.

Call it as it is

To the Ranger fans who feel obliged to spout your mouths on here too and show your own Mr. Bayley such disrespect please take a long walk off a short pier

Storm Fan

This goes beyond what everyone is saying. When the refs don't take control of the game early these things happen. They need to start calling the dives that Ranger players are taking most notably Ryan Murphy. The Kitchener announcers on TV are so anti Guelph it is ridiculous. Our annouincers Steve Fitzsimmons and Bill Granger call the game honestly and at least do player profiles on the opposing team players before the game starts. Thank goodness the next two games are in Guelph.

EBJFRowena

Thank you for this letter and for your words of wisdom.
Several years ago my husband and I went to a Kitchener game and have refused to go back, especially with our children. We were harassed to the point of us covering up our jerseys and removing our Storm hats. We have traveled to several other arenas in the OHL and have felt varying degrees of welcome but never that type of harassment.

Since then I have made a point of speaking to and welcoming opposing team fans. We should all feel welcome in each others space regardless of what happens on the ice. A rough and spirited hockey game does not give us permission to behave like animals to each other.

Stormfan101

You removed my comments as a Storm fan cause I disagreed with you? There was nothing hateful or course language. You're a joke Saxon. I am a proud Guelph fan, doesn't mean I have to agree with everything you said. The actions of our team at the end of that last game were as embarassing as the dumb fans in the crowd. Trying to rip Murphys head off? Why?

dedicated

With a population of 120,000 people we can not even sell out the playoff games especially aginst kitchener. You can't tell me there aren't 4500 hockey fans in this city. That is embaressing, sad and discussting.

bob

Kitchener with a population well over 200 thousand not counting waterloo could not sell out there last game either most teams are far from selling out in the first round.

bob

You have to remember how long has it been since our Storm have won a playoff round too. That has a lot too On the master card site it show over four thousand gone not that bad as you say dedicated.

Tony Saxon

Stormfan101
No, I did not delete your comment. I checked with my editor and neither did he. We will check to see if it somehow got accidentally deleted but if not is there a possibility that it never got posted correctly initially?
Feel free to re-submit the comment. I don't delete comments that disagree with me, only abusive comments or ones that use foul language.
- Tony

Phil Andrews

EDITOR'S NOTE:
Stormfan101 has asserted a concern about a comment of his/her being deleted.
If that step was taken, it was without the knowledge of Tony Saxon -- or me. As well, I can't find such a comment in the folder for deleted comments.
Look, Tony does a terrific job on this beat and on this blog and supports rich commentary on both.
Stormfan101, please re-post whatever comment seems to have vanished.
If you have any difficulty doing so, email it to me and I'll post it on your behalf.

Phil Andrews
Managing Editor
Guelph Mercury
pandrews@guelphmercury.com
519-823-6050

lorne

starting lineup tonight

center cody mc
leftwing bert
right chad Bauman
defence Pedan Possa

GO STORM GO

Brett Hart

Kitchener had its smallest crowd of the year on Sunday.Season Ticket holders have to pay up front for all potential play-off games whether they happen or not.
That is $828. for 2 seats. Many choose not to do so and thus smaller crowds for the first round.There were 1700 tickets avaialable for game 2 and I was surprised at how few Guelph fans were in the building.
The 2 guys sitting behind the visiting team bench are season ticket holders that harass the players and coaches of every team that comes into the building.They are guys in their 50's and now a young guy(glass shaker) has joined in with them.My friends and I just laugh at these clowns as they have nothing better to do with their lives than yell at teenage boys. Good luck to the Storm and Rangers tonight.

Steve Bradley

I love the intensity and rivalry that exists between the Storm and the Rangers. It doesn't matter how good or bad either team is you can always be sure of a great game.
Unfortunately their are some fans from both teams who seem to think that rivalry gives them the right to behave in a manner that would get them a date in court or a trip to the hospital if it occur elsewhere.
There is no way to defend or justify this behavior as some have tried to do here.
Cursing and yelling obscenities at teenagers and in front of young children just lets everybody know what kind of a parent you are.

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