'Unruly' Russian hockey team kicked off flight home
Published Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:27PM EST
Members of Russia's world junior hockey championship team are cooling their jets at a New York State hotel after they were kicked off their flight home on Thursday.
It appears the under-20 team may have celebrated late into the night after their dramatic comeback win against Team Canada on Wednesday night.
After the clock ran out, the Russians celebrated on the ice and then in the media interview area. There were frequent chants of "Beat Canada!" and "Russia! Russia!"
Ninety minutes after their victory, Russian coaches and trainers took to the ice, one of whom was holding what appeared to be a bottle of alcohol. Others were sipping from paper cups.
Although the players were below legal drinking age, some of them were later spotted partying at a hotel bar into the wee hours of the night – though it wasn't clear whether they were being served.
When they eventually made their way to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport ahead of a 6:10 a.m. flight to Atlanta on Thursday morning, they were turned away by the flight's crew.
"To ensure the safe operation of the flight, the crew of flight 1266 (BUF-ATL) denied boarding to 30 passengers who were travelling together and displaying unruly behavior," Delta Air Lines said in a statement.
After leaving the flight the team collected their baggage, which was removed from the plane, said airport spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer. Delta said they are being rebooked "on a future flight."
In the meantime, staff at the front desk of the Days Hotel close to the airport said the Russian players were "sleeping it off."
But the team's media officer, Mikhail Zislis, said he's been unable to catch any shut-eye.
"I cannot sleep because everybody in Russia is calling me asking me what's going on," Zislis told The Associated Press from the hotel lobby.
He didn't know when the team was scheduled to leave Buffalo, he said.
"I hope as soon as possible because we want to go back to Russia," Zislis said.
Officials with the tournament have not commented on the matter.
Russia scored five unanswered goals in the third period against a bewildered Canadian squad to win the gold medal game.
After two periods of play, Canada seemingly had the game in hand, leading 3-0 and dominating in all aspects.
But Russia, which wasn't considered a top contender heading into the tournament, stormed out of the gate in the third period, with Artemi Panarin and Maxim Kitsyn burying two goals just 11 seconds apart.
With files from The Associated Press