An officiating error by Mick McGeough cost the Edmonton Oilers a point last Saturday night. It also cost coach Craig MacTavish $10,000. That's how much he was fined by the NHL for calling the referee "spastic" and describing the blunder as "retarded."
Now it seems the misguided hockey nuts of the Alberta capital intend to raise money to pay the MacTavish fine. A local radio station is leading the drive. The Edmonton Journal provides a glimpse into the madness:
Ryan Zimmerman, program director for The Bear, said the station decided over the weekend to set up a fund-raising effort of its own, and by this afternoon had already raised $2,000 from broadcasts at two live locations.
“We felt that he was the voice of the fans that night and our motto is that we pay for this together,” Zimmerman said. “it’s our fine and we support MacT and his comments.”
The Bear will be at Hudsons on Whyte Avenue Tuesday night during the Oilers game against the Montreal Canadiens. The bar, a favourite watering hole of many Oilers fans, has already pledged to throw in $1,000.
What's the most pathetic aspect of this pathetic story? That so many people take a hockey game so seriously? Or that so many can find no better use for their charitable dollars? (The article notes that nobody expects MacTavish to accept the money, which will ultimately go to charity. One blogger suggests the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Ha-ha.)
MacTavish did nothing to defuse the silliness when he refused to back down from his comments. "I said what I said because of the way I felt. I still feel that way. I don't have too many regrets." You would think a guy who has made some serious mistakes of his own might be a little more forgiving.
Postscript: My position doesn't seem to be getting much support over at Battle of Alberta. That's okay. You can't call yourself a true hockey blogger until you've been called a "sack of sh*t" by an irate fan in Alberta. The guy who calls himself CrazyCoach might want to take his medication before posting anymore comments, though.