CHL Update: Banjax’s Firecracker Prank Leads to Prison

During their inaugural season in 2017, the CHL’s Utah Owls earned a reputation as a group of party animals.  Most infamously, they were banned from all the hotels in Muncie due to their repeated late-night hijinks.  “We’re basically a ‘70s rock band in skates,” said one Utah player.  (It’s worth noting that the Owls’ partying ways didn’t stop them from winning the championship that year.)

The good news for the Owls is that the CHL no longer plays in Muncie; the former Squirrels franchise relocated to Boise during the offseason.  The bad news is that the Owls’ hell-raising ways haven’t improved much with time.  In fact, things got so out of hand in Colorado Springs this weekend that Owls C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax wound up in police custody overnight.

When the Owls arrived in town for Tuesday’s game against the Zoomies, Banjax and several teammates made a beeline for a local fireworks store, which they’d discovered on a previous trip.  Banjax purchased several dozen “jumping jack” firecrackers, along with a roll of string.  He then retired to his hotel room, where he tied the wicks of the firecrackers together with the string.  Then, at approximately 3 in the morning, Banjax and LW Chuck Alley laid the string down the middle of the hallway.  Then, hiding in the stairway, Banjax lit the end of the string, then watched as the jumping jacks exploded one by one.

The hotel management was alerted to the situation by a rash of irate phone calls from guests awakened by the noise.  (Although Banjax and Alley set up the firecrackers in the hallway where the team was staying, the explosions were loud enough to be heard throughout the hotel.)  Banjax was caught sneaking through the lobby with the lighter still in his hand.

This was not the first time that the Owls have caused trouble in this hotel.  The team was forced to apologize last season after starting a food fight in the hotel’s breakfast area.  “I’m proud to say that you can still smell the maple syrup we sprayed on the walls,” Banjax said months later.

But setting off fireworks is something else entirely, and the hotel manager was in no mood to be lenient.  He called the police, who arrested Banjax and charged him with disorderly conduct.  The center missed the game against Colorado Springs, but coach Wiley Kiyotie bailed him out before the Owls left town.

“Look, they call the guy Goofy for a reason,” said Kiyotie of his wayward center.  “But I do think he crossed a line this time, and he knows it.  I hope this was a bit of a wakeup call for him.  I’m all for guys having fun, but I’m not really up for bailing my guys out of jail on the reg, you know?”

Kiyotie and Owls management negotiated with the hotel, and they agreed to drop the charges in exchange for Banjax apologizing and paying to replace the rug, which was damaged by the blasts.  The Owls are also barred from staying at the hotel in the future.

Banjax admitted a certain degree of embarrassment over the incident.  “When you live out of hotel rooms all the time like we do, you go a little stir-crazy and want to have fun,” said Banjax.  “But from now on, I promise to try to keep it legal, okay?”

The center had another unorthodox idea to resolve the situation, saying that the New York Night (Utah’s parent club) “could always just promote me.  I think I’m good enough to deserve it, and I haven’t been banned from any SHL hotels yet!”

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CHL Update: West Wins All-Star Goalfest

All-Star Games are generally not famous for their defense.  There’s no glory in blocking shots or wall work in an All-Star contest, and certainly nobody wants to risk getting hurt.  So games generally turn into shooting galleries, and high scores are commonplace.

Even by All-Star standards, though, Thursday’s CHL All-Star Game at the Utah Owls’ Wasatch Arena was an offensive showcase.  The teams delivered a high-octane contest at high altitude, combining for 97 shots, filling the arena with the booming crack of slapper after slapper.

“It was a total gong show out there,” said West coach Patrick Chillingham.  “It seemed like as soon as you got the puck on your stick, if you could see the goal, you were shooting.”

In the end, the Western squad managed to hold off the visitors from the East, taking the win by the preposterous and magnificent score of 9-6.  “That’s not a hockey score,” said Owls RW Harris Wondolowski, who had two of those goals.  “It’s a football score.”

At first, the contest seemed fairly even.  After a mere 14 minutes, the scored stood 3-3.  When neither team scored over the final six minutes of the first period, the buzz in the arena quieted; the fans seemed a little bored when the goal light wasn’t flashing constantly.

It was the second period when the West took firm control of the game.  The East actually took a brief 4-3 lead when Baltimore Blue Crabs LW Alan Youngman cashed in on a slapshot from the left faceoff circle.  But then the West scored three straight goals in a six-minute span to seize the momentum of the game for good.  Omaha Ashcats D Trevor Lockwood tipped a shot past the East’s netminder, the Cleveland CenturionsEugene Looney, a little over six minutes into the second to tie it up.  A couple minutes later, Minnesota Freeze D Laszlo Cierny scored on a blast from the blue line to put the West ahead.  Finally, Milwaukee Hogs LW Gabriel Swindonburg finished a breakway by going top-shelf on Looney for a two-goal Western lead.

“We were stuck chasing the game after that, kind of like a dog chasing a car down the street,” said East coach Jeffrey “Swampy” Marsh.  “And just like that dog, we never caught up.”

In a special moment for the hometown fans in Utah, Owls C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax won MVP honors.  He assisted on all three of the West’s second period goals, and scored one of his own in the third to help put the game away.  Along with the award, Banjax received a Polaris Rush snowmobile, perfect for carving trails through the Wasatch Mountains.

“I don’t know if it was a good idea to give me one of those things,” said Banjax.  “I barely even have a drivers’ license.  But hey, I bet I could drive this thing through the lobby of a hotel.  That’d be fun!”

 

CHL All Star Game
East All Stars @ West All Stars, Wasatch Arena

                   1   2   3   OT   F
East All Stars     3   1   2        6
West All Stars     3   3   3        9

 
East All Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-   West All Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-

Youngman        LW     2   0   2   0   0   Sikanen         LW     2   0   2   0   0
Melicar         D      0   2   2   0   0   Black           D      0   0   0   0   0
Barnhill        C      1   2   3   0   0   Wilcox          C      0   2   2   0   0
Bodett          D      1   2   3   0   0   Prussian        D      0   1   1   0   0
Brandon         RW     0   1   1   0   0   van der Veen    RW     0   1   1   0   0
Laronov         LW     1   1   2   0   1   Cresson         LW     0   0   0   0  -1
Morrison        D      0   2   2   0  -1   Cierny          D      1   2   3   0   1
Macy            C      1   0   1   0   1   Culp            C      0   2   2   0  -1
Druzek          D      0   0   0   0  -1   Sharkey         D      0   1   1   0   1
Archer          RW     0   2   2   0   1   Wondolowski     RW     2   0   2   0  -1
Pescatelli      LW     0   0   0   0  -5   Swindonburg     LW     1   1   2   0   5
Corbetta        D      0   0   0   0  -3   Lockwood        D      1   0   1   0   3
Brooks          C      0   0   0   0  -5   Banjax          C      1   3   4   0   5
Cullidge        D      0   0   0   0  -3   Werner          D      0   3   3   0   3
Delorme         RW     0   0   0   0  -5   Hagendosh       RW     1   1   2   0   5
----------------------------------------   ----------------------------------------
TOTALS                 6  12  18   0  -4   TOTALS                 9  17  26   0   4

Scratches:
EAS:  none
WAS:  none

 
East All Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Looney              29    23    6  0.793
Crane               22    19    3  0.864

West All Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Sanford             24    20    4  0.833
Freeze              22    20    2  0.909

 

First Period
------------

GOALS:
00:53  EAS  Barnhill (Brandon, Melicar)
03:00  WAS  Hagendosh (Sharkey, Cierny)
10:17  WAS  Sikanen (Werner, Wilcox)
10:37  EAS  Laronov (Bodett, Melicar)
11:29  WAS  Wondolowski (Cierny, Culp)
13:57  EAS  Youngman (Barnhill, Morrison)

PENALTIES:
None

Second Period
-------------

GOALS:
02:40  EAS  Youngman (Barnhill, Bodett)
06:17  WAS  Lockwood (Werner, Banjax)
08:07  WAS  Cierny (Banjax, Swindonburg)
12:26  WAS  Swindonburg (Banjax)

PENALTIES:
None

Third Period
------------

GOALS:
04:24  EAS  Macy (Morrison, Archer)
05:30  WAS  Banjax (Hagendosh, Prussian)
11:45  WAS  Wondolowski (Werner, Culp)
12:24  EAS  Bodett (Archer, Laronov)
16:58  WAS  Sikanen (Wilcox, van der Veen)

PENALTIES:
None


 
SHOTS
------
                   1   2   3   OT   F
East All Stars    11  13  22       46
West All Stars    15  14  22       51

 
POWER PLAYS
-----------

East All Stars   0 for 0
West All Stars   0 for 0

 
INJURIES
--------

None

2019 CHL All-Star Rosters

The day after the SHL’s All-Star Game, their minor league will be holding its second annual All-Star contest.  The game will take place at Wasatch Arena, home of the Utah Owls. The rosters for the game, along with each player’s current stats, are below.

WEST ALL-STARS

Coach: Patrick Chillingham (Minnesota)

 

First Line

LW: Veikko Sikanen, Omaha (16 G, 19 A, 35 Pts, 42 PIM, +16)

D: Rodney Black, Idaho (19 G, 10 A, 29 Pts, 10 PIM, +6)

C: Dale Wilcox, Idaho (13 G, 25 A, 38 Pts, 16 PIM, +16)

D: Brady Prussian, Idaho (15 G, 13 A, 28 Pts, 16 PIM, +6)

RW: Adriaen van der Veen, Omaha (16 G, 23 A, 39 Pts, 6 PIM, +16)

 

Second Line

LW: Terry Cresson, Idaho (11 G, 22 A, 33 Pts, 16 PIM, +16)

D: Laszlo Cierny, Minnesota (6 G, 19 A, 25 Pts, 46 PIM, +2)

C: Foster Culp, Colorado Springs (16 G, 16 A, 32 Pts, 12 PIM, Even)

D: Lowell Sharkey, Omaha (4 G, 19 A, 23 Pts, 12 PIM, +8)

RW: Harris Wondolowski, Utah (15 G, 24 A, 39 Pts, 18 PIM, +2)

 

Third Line

LW: Gabriel Swindonburg, Milwaukee (19 G, 10 A, 29 Pts, 34 PIM, -4)

D: Trevor Lockwood, Omaha (12G, 14 A, 26 Pts, 29 PIM, +11)

C: Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax, Utah (13 G, 19 A, 32 Pts, 10 PIM, -6)

D: Craig Werner, Utah (7 G, 17 A, 24 Pts, 12 PIM, +2)

RW: Joel Hagendosh, Colorado Springs (13 G, 20 A, 33 Pts, 63 PIM, -13)

 

Goalies

Hobie Sanford, Milwaukee (7-8-3, 2.02 GAA, .931 save %)

Curt Freeze, Minnesota (12-8-1, 2.07 GAA, .924 save %)

 

EAST ALL-STARS

Coach: Jeffrey “Swampy” Marsh (Virginia)

 

First Line

LW: Alan Youngman, Baltimore (18 G, 22 A, 40 Pts, 22 PIM, +17)

D: Ambroz Melicar, Baltimore (11 G, 25 A, 36 Pts, 10 PIM, +2)

C: Tucker Barnhill, Baltimore (17 G, 30 A, 47 Pts, 24 PIM, +17)

D: Elvis Bodett, Oshawa (14 G, 8 A, 22 Pts, 19 PIM, +12)

RW: Steve Brandon, Cleveland (19 G, 12 A, 31 Pts, 24 PIM, +2)

 

Second Line

LW: Yuri Laronov, Virginia (16 G, 15 A, 31 Pts, 16 PIM, -5)

D: Teddy Morrison, Maine (8 G, 13 A, 21 Pts, 14 PIM, Even)

C: Hilliard Macy, Oshawa (15 G, 18 A, 33 Pts, 12 PIM, +15)

D: Casimir Druzek, Virginia (2 G, 20 A, 22 Pts, 27 PIM, -4)

RW: Sidney Archer, Baltimore (15 G, 16 A, 31 Pts, 2 PIM, +17)

 

Third Line

LW: Marty “Fish” Pescatelli, Hartford (12 G, 16 A, 28 Pts, 39 PIM, -9)

D: Roscoe “Ruckus” Corbetta, Virginia (6 G, 12 A, 18 Pts, 70 PIM, -5)

C: Tanner Brooks, Virginia (19 G, 12 A, 31 Pts, 10 PIM, -5)

D: Burton Cullidge, Cleveland (1 G, 15 A, 15 Pts, 42 PIM, -4)

RW: Felix Delorme, Hartford (15 G, 13 A, 28 Pts, 14 PIM, -9)

 

Goalies

Eugene Looney, Cleveland (8-7-0, 1.79 GAA, .925 save %)

Jonathan Crane, Maine (9-9-2, 2.06 GAA, .917 save %)

CHL Update: Owls Shock Rhinos in 5 To Win Championship

Coming into the first-ever CHL playoffs, no one gave the Utah Owls much of a chance to win.  Although they had been hot during the last month of the season, they only finished a few games above the .500 mark.  They had few players among the league leaders in any category, and they were better known for their wacky hotel escapades than for anything they did on the ice.  The smart money suggested that the Owls would be easily knocked out by the Omaha Ashcats in the Western Division playoff; failing that, they’d be taken down by the high-scoring Virginia Rhinos in the finals.

By the time the playoffs were over, however, the smart money wasn’t looking so smart.  Utah stunned Omaha by winning the division finals in four games and making it look easy.  Then in the Finals, with barely more drama, the Owls defeated the Rhinos 4 games to 1 to claim the inaugural Howard Trophy as CHL champions.

“Nobody believed in us,” said Owls C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax.  “Everyone was just standing around, waiting for us to fail.  But we showed them!  We showed everybody that we’re the best there is!”

In Game 1, Utah walked into Waterfront Center and pushed the pace, with the teams combining for 85 shots.  The Owls hammered the Rhinos 6-2, with six different players scoring goals for the Owls.  “I absolutely did not see that coming,” said Virginia goalie Shawn Stickel.  “We’d heard those guys liked to play fast, but we weren’t expecting that kind of crazy speed.  It’s like they had rockets in their skates.”  Not only did the Rhinos lose the game, they lost winger Nick Krombopoulos for the series with an upper-body injury.

In Game 2, Virginia seemed to restore order, downing Utah 3-1.  But both sides wound up losing a defenseman to injury; the Rhinos lost Ivan Ackler, while the Owls saw Boris Badenov go down.  The series shifted to Wasatch Arena for Game 3, where the Owls turned the tables with a 3-1 win of their own.  In Game 4, Virginia took an early 2-0 lead, only to see Utah tie it up with a pair in the second period.  RW Colton Jabril put the Rhinos back up with a tally two minutes into the third period, and it looked like his team was about to tie the series up again.  But Owls LW Mickey Simpson banked one in off the crossbar with 12 seconds left to send it to overtime, and then C Remi “Roadrunner” Gallert nabbed the game-winner 2:05 into OT to give Utah a 3-1 series lead.

“After that, we knew we had it,” said Banjax.

The Owls took care of business in Game 5, with F Diego Garcia scoring two goals to lead his team to a 4-1 win.  The infamously boisterous team managed not to lay waste to the arena; instead, they formed a dogpile on the ice and soaked in the joy of an unexpected victory.

Utah’s secret?  Goalie Sherman Carter.  The top prospect started the season with the Owls before earning a quick call-up to the New York Night, before being sent down for the final games of the CHL season.  He was the key to the Owls’ postseason success, putting up a 1.99 GAA and a .949 save percentage against the league’s highest-scoring team.  Unsurprisingly, Carter was chosen as the Finals MVP.

“Sherm has been nothing short of awesome for us,” said Owls coach Wiley Kiyotie.  “The only sad thing is that he’s probably not going to be back here next year.  He’s headed to the pros to stick next year, and I know he’s going to be special.”

In the midst of the postgame celebration, Banjax was asked whether he thought his team could repeat next year.  “Probably not,” said the Utah center.  “But then, no one thought we’d win it this year.  So who knows?  I can’t wait to find out.”

CHL Update: Owls’ Hotel Hijinks Earn Ban from Muncie

The Utah Owls have had a number of challenges as they’ve sought to compete in the CHL’s Western division this season.  They are geographically remote from most of the other teams in the league, which means that they’ve had to travel more than any team other than Albuquerque.  They suffered a blow early in the season when their parent club, the New York Night, promoted several of their best players.

Now the Owls face a new challenge: finding a place to stay when they play the Muncie Squirrels.  The hotels in Muncie issued a joint statement today banning the Owls from staying at their establishments due to “a pattern of disruptive and inappropriate behavior that has left us unwilling to host them going forward.”

The statement, which was signed by the management of every hotel in Muncie, provided a lengthy list of the many, many hijinks the Owls had committed during their stays in the city. Some of the highlights included:

  • Placing wake-up calls at odd hours for guests in other rooms
  • Holding water-balloon fights in the halls
  • Stealing the maid’s carts and using them to hold drag races in the lobby
  • Making mass quantities of waffles and then using them to play Ultimate Frisbee in the dining room
  • Falling asleep on the front desk
  • Holding howling contests in the stairwells in the middle of the night

The statement noted that the managers of several hotels where the Owls stayed had attempted to work with the team to get their players to cool it, to no avail.  They also noted that the Owls had refused to pay bills for cleaning services or damage caused by some of their more adventurous escapades.

“While we would like to be able to welcome the Owls to our hotels, we have learned the hard way that housing them will only lead to chaos in the halls, angry guests, and a very real risk of serious property damage,” the statement continued.  “Therefore, we have no choice but to bar the Owls from staying with us.”

By all accounts, the Owls are a rowdy traveling crew, and they have reportedly been barred from individual hotels in other places.  However, this is the first time that a team has been banned from staying in an entire city.

“This is just crazy,” said Owls coach Wiley Kiyotie.  “I know our guys like to have fun, and sometimes it gets a little out of hand.  But come on, you can’t kick us out of the entire city!”

Utah C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax shared his coach’s outrage at the move.  “It’s not like there’s anything to do in Muncie,” said Banjax.  “So yeah, we usually wind up hanging around the hotel and raising a little hell.  But it’s not like we’re throwing our beds out the window and into the pool or anything.  Okay, there was that one time.”

Assuming the ban holds, the Owls have some lodging options, which Kiyotie said the team is considering.  They could stay in Indianapolis, which is about an hour away from Muncie.  They could rent a bus and have the team sleep there.  “And of course,” said the Utah coach, “there’s always Airbnb.”