SPORTS TALK: How a hockey player abused an official and got away with it

by James McCarthy- March 18, 2018

I’m beginning to think Montreal Canadiens fans are becoming just as delusional as Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Case in point:

I ran into a diehard Habs fan at the store one night who told me the Canadiens would be Stanley Cup champions in 2019. Straight faced and all.

Josh McCown signed himself a $10 million deal with the New York Jets earlier this month and got himself a tasty take-out meal at the same time. photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Now, I would chalk up the confusion to this person simply being from the East Coast but I’m married to a Newfoundlander and I know not everyone from that part of the world is delusional. In any event, we all know Montreal isn’t winning the Stanley Cup next year.

On to more sensible things in the world of sports.

Shaking my head

I’ve seen the video on this and I’m still amazed this player didn’t get a suspension.

Givani Smith plays with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and got into a tussle with a player from the Sarnia Sting on March 6. A linesman was trying to keep the two apart but Smith really wanted to get at this guy. So he did the only thing he could think of at the time – he tossed the official aside. Yup, he just heaved him out of the way.

Anyone who knows anything about hockey rules will know that any abuse of an official at the major junior level means, at minimum, a 10-game suspension.

If it’s a serious case, such as a player grabbing an official and socking him with a solid right or left, the punishment could be way more severe. But how Smith avoided even a one-game suspension boggles even my mind.

It’s not like he accidentally did it. He grabbed the back of the linesman’s jersey and flung him. I’ve seen less contact get the requisite 10 games. The OHL needs to explain this one because it will set a dangerous precedent.

Because we’ve all done this

You ever have those times where you’re sitting in a Chick-Fil-A parking lot, waiting for your order to be brought out to you and signing an eight-figure contract while doing it?

Josh McCown went through this very scenario earlier this month as he was patiently waiting for his lunch. There’s a photo of him sitting in his car and using his phone to sign a $10 million deal that will see him return to the New York Jets for the 2018 NFL season.

Now, you’re wondering how he signed the deal by using his phone. Well, since technology has made things idiot-proof nowadays, all McCown had to do was put finger-to-screen and it was official. I mean, I wish I could do that because there’s no better place to renegotiate a contract than the Tim Hortons drive-thru waiting on a doughnut and an Iced Capp coffee drink.

He was described as a journeyman quarterback. I wish I was a journeyman knowing I was about to cash in on $10 million, don’t you?

And finally …

Good Idea: Questioning a referee about a call he/she has made.

Bad Idea: Trying to get at a referee with a holstered gun on your hip.

If I were the referee, I don’t know how I would handle this situation, but I do know that I would probably soil myself.

This all happened in a Greek Super League soccer match between AEK and PAOK Thessaloniki on March 11. The game was scoreless into stoppage time in the second half when PAOK scored. Or so they thought. The goal was waved off because of an offside call, which was enough to set off Ivan Savvidis, PAOK’s owner.

Savvidis came onto the field, bodyguards in tow, to try and confront the referee. In a video, you can see someone coming to talk to the referee and tell him something and then both sets of teams trying to keep Savvidis away. After he was taken off the field, he came on a second time without the jacket he was wearing and appeared to be carrying a pistol in a holster around his waist.

I guess that’s one way to get someone’s attention but Savvidis apologized, saying he wasn’t threatening in any way. Maybe not, but if someone comes up to argue with you, handgun visible, are you going to tell them something they don’t like? In Savvidis’ defence, he never made a move for the gun at any time, which was nice of him, and he is apparently licenced to possess a firearm.

The league suspended operations indefinitely the day after the incident and said it would not resume until they figured out a way for something like this to not happen again.

I have a brilliant idea: hold every single match behind closed doors. Lock the gates so no one gets in. That way there would be no revenue from ticket sales or concessions. We all know money has a strange way of making people do what you want so maybe a few lost Euros would straighten out other gun-toting owners. Until next time, folks …

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