Portland Bluebacks star Vince Mango, whose outspoken nature has sparked controversy on more than one occasion, did it again this week. On the eve of a matchup against the Anchorage Igloos, Mango told a reporter that he would rather quit hockey than play in Anchorage.
Mango made this remark during an interview for a profile that ran in a Portand newspaper last Friday. The reporter asked Mango about his favorite and least favorite SHL road cities. The winger cited New York as his favorite. “All that action, all that energy, all the great restaurants,” said Mango, who is a noted foodie. “The Big Apple’s the greatest city in the world! From a nightlife perspective, you can’t beat it.”
Mango then discussed his least favorite places. “Most guys would probably say Rapid City [home of the Dakota Jackalopes] ‘cause it’s so small,” said Mango, “but I actually kind of like it. Mount Rushmore and that big hill with all the dino statues on it [Dinosaur Park]. If you’ve got an off-day, maybe take a trip out to Wall Drug and ride the jackalope. That place is totally made for Instagram!
“No, the place I can’t stand is Anchorage,” Mango continued. “I’m a Florida boy, and I don’t like the cold, and that place is cold as hell. Have you been there in the winter? You step out of the airport and, like, your lungs freeze. There’s nothing to do except, like, eat whale blubber and find stuff to build a fire with. There’s like two hours of daylight, and that’s if you’re lucky and the sun isn’t behind a cloud. I’d probably like it okay if I was a penguin, but I’m not.”
In an act of unfortunate timing, the profile ran a couple days before the Bluebacks traveled to Arctic Circle Arena to face the Igloos, who were seeking their first win of the season. Predictably, Anchorage’s players were less than impressed.
“I love it here,” said LW Jerry Koons. “The cold takes a little getting used to, but it’s a warm and friendly city once you get to know it. The people are awesome, and there’s plenty to do. Of course, I’m more into hiking and skiing than I am into reality TV, which seems to be Vince’s thing.”
“I’m not sure why Vince wouldn’t want to play for a team that’s gone to four Finals and won two Vandys,” added C Jake Frost. “I think that says more about him than it does about Anchorage.”
When Mango’s name was announced during introductions, the fans booed and littered the ice with toy penguins. In response, the Portland star waved and smiled. During the game, the fans booed every time Mango touched the puck.
The Igloos were happy to make Mango eat his words, scoring five goals in the first period to chase goalie Jesse Clarkson and cruising to an 8-1 rout.
Mango proclaimed himself amused by the response. “They’re sticking up for their town, and that’s cool,” said the winger. “If this starts some beef between us and them, nothing wrong with that. Rivalries mean ratings, and I’m all about the ratings.”