New York Night coach Nick Foster is a master at using verbal jabs to stir up rivalries with opposing teams and players. Over the last couple of seasons, he has trained the bulk of his rhetorical fire on the Hamilton Pistols, turning that rivalry into one of the league’s most heated.
The two squads faced off again on Sunday, and after a 2-2 tie, Foster took the opportunity in his postgame press conference to open up another front in his verbal war against his opponents from the north: he mocked the Pistols’ new mascot, Crosscheck.
The Pistols originally planned for Crosscheck to debut at the beginning of this season. After they won the Vandy last year, though, Hamilton’s front office shifted their early promotions to focus on celebrating the team’s title. The new mascot – a rather unusual-looking orange creature clad in a Pistols jersey – finally took its bow late last month. It’s received mixed reviews so far; some fans find it fun and cheerful, while others seem to consider it creepy.
Foster’s first exposure to Crosscheck occurred during Sunday’s game, and he wasted no time opening fire on the new mascot. “So I look up at the scoreboard for a second, and suddenly I’m staring at this freaky inbred Teletubby,” Foster told reporters. “At first I thought I must be hallucinating, but I rubbed my eyes and it was still there. I asked [assistant coach] Biff [Lombardi] if he saw it too, and he did, so it must be real.”
After bugging out his eyes in mock shock, Foster continued. “Now, I know Halloween isn’t for another eight months, so what the hell is this? Are they trying to scare kids, or get the adults to throw up in the aisles? I know I’m scarred for life: I’m going to see his one extra-wide tooth in my sleep.
“I finally figured it out, though,” the New York coach concluded. “This… thing is supposed to represent Hamilton’s fans! Think about it: It’s fat, missing most of its teeth, and it looks like its family tree is a straight line. Just like your typical Pistols fan! It must be like looking in a mirror for them. So now I get it.”
In the wake of Foster’s barbs, the Pistols and their fans rushed to Crosscheck’s defense. “Crosscheck is one of us,” said coach Keith Shields. “Crosscheck is all about fun and love of hockey, and certainly deserves better than Foster’s insults and cruelty. If you insult any member of the Pistols family – whether it’s a player, a fan, or a mascot – you have to answer to all of us.”
Added LW Steven Alexander, “Crosscheck might be ugly, but it’s better to be ugly on the outside than ugly on the inside.”
Hamilton’s fans have bombarded social media with memes and posts supporting Crosscheck and attacking Foster. “I think perhaps we owe our gratitude to Coach Foster,” said Pistols GM Marcel LaClaire. “He has done more to unite our fan base behind our new mascot than anyone ever could. For this, I am thankful.”