A pair of Saskatchewan Shockers found themselves in hot water this week after a mischievous prank at the airport went awry.
The Shockers were feeling pretty punch at the end of a long flight home from Quebec on Friday night after toppling the Tigres 4-2. The second half of the season has been a slog for Saskatchewan; after getting off to a better-than-expected 14-15-1 start, the team has lost 15 of 20 since. So it’s little surprise that players might be looking to blow off some steam.
As they were leaving the plane, C Foster Culp and backup goalie Shawn Stickel decided to have a little fun. They slipped down the stairs from the jetway, snuck onto the tarmac, hopped into the baggage tractor, and went for a joyride. They were on the loose for about 10 minutes, merrily eluding airport personnel, but were ultimately stopped by a blockade before they could make it onto the runway. The kerfuffle caused a 30-minute ground stop at the airport, in order to avoid endangering passengers.
After being stopped, Culp and Stickel were taken into custody by airport security, and after questioning were detained overnight by the Saskatchewan police. Coach Myron Beasley bailed the pair out the next day.
This isn’t the first time that Culp has gotten into trouble on the Shockers’ travels. Last season, he caused the Shockers to be detained at the airport for several hours after jokingly telling customs officials that he had brought guns and drugs with him on the plane. This incident was taken considerably more seriously, with officials threatening to press charges for the escapade. (At press time, it was not clear what charges, if any, the pair might face.)
As the center later explained, it all began innocently enough. “We’d been caged up on that plane for hours, and Shawn and I just wanted some fresh air,” Culp told reporters. “We figured we’d just go outside for a bit, have a cigarette maybe, and that was it. But then we noticed all the cool little trucks and things that go zipping around there, and we thought it would be fun to take a ride.”
Culp said that originally, they had planned to take one vehicle each and have a drag race on the runway. “But the baggage cart was the only one close by, so we decided to just take that and go Thelma and Louise.”
“Needless to say, alcohol was involved in the incident,” Beasley said.
The Shockers fined both Culp and Stickel for their antics. “I mean, I get it,” said the coach. “Long flight, tough season, guys are going to get lubed up and these things can happen. But it’s embarrassing to the team, and it’s a problem for everybody in the airport.”
The coach added that he felt the overnight detention was appropriate. “It gave those guys a chance to dry out,” Beasley said. “Which they clearly needed.”