The CHL has a few rough customers in its ranks. Cedric Meloche of Albuquerque is one. Valeri Nistrumov of Virginia is another. But according to most league observers, D Colt Mayhem of the Oshawa Drive is hands-down the league’s most pugnacious player. “Colt is just plain crazy,” said teammate Pat “Stoner” Collistone. “Look at him cross-eyed, and he’ll lay you out. I wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley. Or even in an alley in broad daylight.”
This week, Mayhem’s ferocious attitude crossed the line, as he went into the stands to attack some obnoxious fans. His actions earned him a five-game suspension, and may have landed him in legal trouble as well.
On Friday, Mayhem and the Drive were at Wasatch Arena to take on the Utah Owls. The scrappy defenseman got into trouble in the first period by hauling down Owls RW Jon Garfield hard, resulting in a minor penalty for hooking. That set the stage for a chippy period in which the teams combined for 16 minutes in penalties.
The game settled down in the second period, but Mayhem riled up the opponents at the crowd midway through the third when he rammed Utah C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax in the solar plexus with the butt end of his stick, causing him to crumple to the ice. Mayhem was hit with a four-minute penalty for spearing, but Owls coach Wiley Kiyotie (as well as the fans) felt that he should have been ejected. Banjax did not return to the game.
The crowd’s mood turned even more sour after the Drive scored two goals in the last 35 seconds of regulation to erase a 4-2 Utah lead. On the tying goal, Mayhem fed a pass to LW Alvin Fawn, then opened a path to the net with what the Owls felt was an illegal cross-check. The referees reviewed the goal, but ultimately upheld it. The arena echoed with boos as the fans expressed their displeasure.
The fans behind the Oshawa bench started heckling Mayhem, banging on the glass and hollering insults. Mayhem turned around and yelled back. When Drive LW Jamie Campbell scored the winning goal three and a half minutes into overtime, one of the fans boiled over and tossed a cup of root beer over the Plexiglas, dousing Mayhem. The irate defenseman attempted to climb the glass to get at his tormentors, only to see the panel bend and give way.
With no glass to restrain him, Mayhem jumped into the stands and began punching one of the fans. The people surrounding him frantically tried to tell Mayhem that he was attacking the wrong person. Eventually, the defenseman realized his mistake and asked where the perpetrator had gone. The fans pointed toward the aisle, where 27-year-old David Glazer of Orem was attempting to escape. Mayhem caught up with him in the concourse and slammed him against the wall. Four other fans attempted to hold Mayhem back, to no apparent effect. “He was just flinging people off like they were flies,” said one observer.
The fracas was finally interrupted by security guards and Salt Lake City police, who finally managed to pull Mayhem off of Glazer. They had to taser the Oshawa blueliner to subdue him, then they handcuffed him and took him away. Mayhem remained behind in prison while the Drive left town, although the team was attempting to free him at press time.
Speaking to reporters from his cell, Mayhem was defiant. “They got no right to treat me like that,” the defenseman said. “Next time we come to Utah, I’m bringing my buddy Snake. Me and Snake could take out a hundred fans if we had to.”
Drive coach Peter James acknowledged that Mayhem’s actions were uncalled for. “The fans behind our bench were behaving reprehensibly,” said James. “It certainly was inappropriate of them to throw a drink on our players. They should have been ejected from the arena. But none of that justifies what Colt did. In a time so filled with hostility and anger, the last thing we need is for a situation to tip over into physical violence. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call our front office to see if they will bail Colt out of jail.”
The suspension was announced the next morning, and the team confirmed that Mayhem will not appeal. It is not yet certain whether he will face legal charges as a result of the incident.