The Michigan Gray Wolves have been one of the SHL’s best teams over the first two weeks of the season. But not everyone is a fan of Michigan’s success.
New York Night coach Preston Rivers complained about the Grey Wolves’ aggressive physical play after it cost him a player. The Night played the Gray Wolves to a draw last week, but New York wound up losing LW Pascal Royal for 5 games after Michigan D Frank Mudrick crushed him into the boards and caused a lower-body injury.
Rivers said that the Grey Wolves should be renamed the “Michigan Goons” and added that if the Gray Wolves win the SHL championship, it will be “terrible for hockey. We’ll be right back to the ‘70s, when hockey was one big bar fight on skates and all the players had three teeth.” Rivers also alleged that Michigan’s physical approach was designed to conceal a lack of talent. “They don’t have anybody who can score goals,” said Rivers, “so instead they try to beat up the other team so they can’t score either. It’s almost cheating, really.”
Michigan coach Martin Delorme angrily defended his team’s approach. “We don’t play dirty, we play hard,” Delorme said. “I know all [the Night] care about is looking pretty and signing autographs, but hockey is hard work, and I train my players to outwork everybody. We play hard and gritty, but that is how you win games.”
Gray Wolves C Hunter Bailes agreed with his coach. “Hockey’s a physical game,” said Bailes. “If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to get in and bang bodies and do what you need to control the puck. We’re not going to apologize for that.”
Rivers said that if New York suffers another injury the next time they play Michigan, he will petition the Commissioner’s office to demand a suspension. “Typical,” sneered Michgan LW Vladimir Beruschko. “If he doesn’t like it, he should tell his players to go after us. But he can’t, because they’re weak and afraid to mess their hair.”