Social media is a double-edged sword for modern athletes. On the positive side, it can bring players and fans closer than ever before, and offers athletes the chance to provide a view behind the scenes of their lives and careers. On the downside, sometimes the behind-the-scenes view can create controversy or lead to trouble. Three members of the CHL’s Idaho Spuds learned that lesson the hard way this week, as they offered fans a somewhat too-unvarnished view of life in the minor leagues of hockey.
The players in question were LW Terry Cresson, D Rusty Sienna, and RW Britt Cadmium. The trio of friends recorded their on-ice and off-ice activities over the course of a week, which they edited into a 10-minute video that each posted to their Instagram stories, under the title “The REAL Hockey Life.” Much of the video was fairly innocuous, featuring clips of games, practices, and on-the-road goofing around. Some moments, however, raised eyebrows among teammates and the front office.
Some parts of the video were embarrassing to specific players and coaches. Such as the locker-room clip that included, in the background, a naked player headed toward the shower. Or the clip of coach Gilbert McCoyne in his office, yelling obscenities at players (captioned “Sent to the principal’s office”).
Other parts depicted inappropriate and immature behavior that caused the team a PR headache. Like the shot of Cresson’s locker, into which someone had stuffed an inflatable female doll (the caption: “Meet Terry’s new gf”). Or the clips of players shotgunning an alarming number of beers in a bar. Or the shot of the team on the bus, chanting a camp song filled with sexist and homophobic lyrics.
Another segment featured the trio base jumping into the Snake River Canyon, which is an activity forbidden by their contracts.
The video circulated among teammate over the week, but later attracted the attention of reporters, who asked McCoyne about it. From there, the video drew the scrutiny of the organization.
The Spuds issued a statement expressing disappointment in the players. “This video, and the behaviors and activities depicted in it, do not reflect the values of the Idaho Spuds or the Dakota Jackalopes organization,” the statement read. “The players involved will be disciplined appropriately, and we will take the opportunity to educate the entire organization about appropriate and respectful behavior.” All three players were fined, and will each be suspended for a game. (Sienna is currently injured, and will be benched for a game upon his return.)
McCoyne took a somewhat more forgiving tack. “It was a dumb and immature thing for them to do,” the coach told reporters, “but young guys are dumb and immature sometimes. I think after they saw what happened here, they’ll be smart enough not to do it again.”
Asked about the part of the video that featured him cursing at players, McCoyne responded, “Yeah, that was me. No deepfakes there. I have a potty mouth sometimes. Sorry, Grandma.”
The players involved publicly apologized for their behavior. “We thought it would be fun for people to see what our life is like off the ice,” said Cresson, “But yeah, we should have edited it a little better. And some of it, we shouldn’t have shot at all.”
Added Sienna, “When I found out that they could have dumped us for the base jumping thing, that was definitely a wake-up call. I know I’m not doing that again.”