New York Night coach Nick Foster has made no secret of his desire to kindle a feud with the Hamilton Pistols. Earlier in the season, Foster took a jab at Pistols star Steven Alexander, accusing him of cheating. This week, he took his war of words up a notch. After last Friday’s game against the Pistols, which New York lost Foster blasted Hamilton’s arena, the Gunpowder Armory. Built in 1941, the Armory is the SHL’s oldest facility by far, and Foster ripped the arena as decrepit and disgusting.
“The place is a total dump,” said Foster. “The whole joint smells like sweat, cigarette smoke, stale popcorn, and motor oil. There are rats running around the place that are so big you could slap a saddle on ‘em and go for a ride. It’s an embarrassment to the league, to tell you the truth.”
When asked what he thought would improve the facility, the Night coach replied: “A bulldozer.”
New York’s arena, the Neon Sky Center, is only five years old, and is well-known for its wide array of concessions options and high number of luxury suites. “We’re a first-class city, and we have a first-class facility,” said Foster. “Hamilton is a broken-down, worn-out city, so they have a broken-down dump for an arena.”
Several of the Pistols took umbrage to Foster’s remarks. “The Armory might not be the most modern arena, but it’s good enough for us,” said coach Keith Shields. “Hockey’s a blue-collar sport, and this is a blue-collar town and proud of it. Maybe we’re not fancy enough for Nick, but we don’t need fancy. We’re just here to have a good time and win some games.”
RW Kenny Patterson, a Toronto native who previously played for New York, stood up for the city. “Remarks like that are why I was so happy to get out of New York,” said Patterson. “They’ve got a beautiful building, but it’s an empty shell, just like the team. Their games are full of so-called fans sipping Chablis in their luxury boxes and ignoring the game. Me, I’d rather be here, with real fans who drink beer and cheer us on.
“I thought it was an upgrade when [the Night] got rid of [ex-coach Preston] Rivers, but it seems like they just got another guy who likes to run his mouth. He can’t win on the ice, so he’s taking cheap shots in the papers. That’s all right; we’ll just take care of our business, just like we did on Friday.”
When told of Shields’ and Patterson’s remarks, Foster laughed and rubbed his hands together. “We’re cookin’ now, boys!” the coach crowed. “I’m Public Enemy Number One! Can’t wait for the next time we come back to Tank Town. If that dump doesn’t fill up with boos the minute I walk in, I’ll be disappointed.”