At this point, it’s well-known around the league that the Hamilton Pistols and New York Night don’t like each other. The teams have been feuding for multiple seasons. The rivalry was initially sparked and furiously stoked by Night coach Nick Foster. The New York organization has also played its part in kindling the dislike, particularly during last season’s “Canada Night” promotion. The Pistols have lobbed their own barbed remarks and occasionally gotten physical, but have generally preferred to let their play do the talking. Foster’s recent jabs at the team’s new mascot, however, seem to have crossed the line, and the Pistols finally went after the New York coach and his team in a memorable in-game skit.
The Pistols debuted Crosscheck, a friendly orange creature, as their new mascot about a month into the season. Foster saw it for the first time shortly before the All-Star break, and wasted no time making fun of it. Foster called Crosscheck a “freaky inbred Teletubby” and claimed that it represents a typical Pistols fan, because “it’s fat, missing most of its teeth, and it looks like its family tree is a straight line.” Pistols fans and players alike were outraged by Foster’s insults, and the team decided to respond in kind.
The Night came to Hamilton on Saturday, and the fans filled the air with boos when Foster’s name was mentioned during the pregame lineup announcements. Before the opening puck drop, the Pistols dimmed the lights and cued up a video on the Jumbotron. It began with some clips of Foster’s descriptions of the Hamilton mascot. Then, after a pause, it showed Crosscheck sitting in the office of owner Cory Blackwood, Jr. The owner assured Crosscheck, “Listen, whatever you want to do, the organization is behind you. I think it’s time you got even.”
The video then showed a series of clips of Hamilton players beating up New York players, interspersed with shots of Crosscheck venting his frustrations. In one scene, he threw darts at a picture of Foster’s face. In another, he went after a punching bag with Foster’s picture taped to it. In yet another, he played a special version of Whack-A-Mole where all the “moles” were made to look like the Night coach’s head. The whole sequence was scored to Loretta Lynn’s 1968 country classic “Fist City.” The fans laughed and cheered throughout; even some of New York’s players appeared to be watching with evident amusement.
Finally, after the video was complete, Crosscheck came charging out on the ice, wearing boxing trunks and gloves. He stopped in front of the Night bench, waved his fists around, and pointed at Foster, challenging the Night bench boss to a throwdown. Foster responded by laughing and blowing kisses, while the fans booed. Adding injury to insult, the Pistols proceeded to shut out the Night 3-0 during the game, with backup netminder Ron Mason stopping all 42 New York shots.
“I loved it!” said Foster after the game. “The freaky Teletubby earned my respect out there today. It might not be too bright, but it knows how to stand up for itself. Again, I’d say that the weirdo seemed like a typical Pistols fan, except that it seemed to be basically sober.”
The Pistols, naturally, dubbed Foster a coward for declining Crosscheck’s invitation to fight. “Crosscheck called [Foster] out like a man, or whatever it is,” said LW Steven Alexander. “And Foster had a chance to back up his mouth with some action, but of course he wouldn’t do it. I wish I was surprised. Crosscheck is ten times the man that Foster is, and Crosscheck’s not even a man.”
One thing’s for certain: the Pistols are clearly not inclined to take Foster’s insults lying down. Will the Night respond in kind the next time Hamilton visits the Big Apple? As angry as this rivalry already is, it could be heading for an even greater level of hatred.