Ex-Sailors Coach Threatens Crowd as “Joke”

Ever since Stewart Corrigan was fired from the Seattle Sailors’ coaching job at the end of the 2017 season, he has kept a low profile.  Corrigan has not spoken to the press since his dismissal, nor has he been publicly considered for any openings since then.  Given his history of volcanic and sometimes violent meltdowns behind the bench, many around the league hoped that Corrigan was seeking therapy for his anger issues.

Stewart Corrigan

The ex-Sailors coach resurfaced in Seattle for a game this week.  What might have been a feel-good first step toward reconciliation instead ended in a bizarre display that, depending on who you believe, was either a disturbing public unraveling or a misunderstood joke.

Corrigan flew up from Santa Rosa, where he has made his home since his dismissal, to take in Thursday’s game against the Michigan Gray Wolves.  “Even though I’m not with the team any more, I still feel a connection with them,” said Corrigan.  “It’s kind of like a parent with adult kids.  Even though they’re out of the house, you still want them to do well.”  He indicated that he did not hold a grudge against the organization for his firing.

Before the puck dropped on Thursday, PA announcer Sean Winters announced Corrigan’s presence to the crowd, which responded with a smattering of applause.  Corrigan, who had a microphone, shouted to the crowd: “Come on, Sailors fans, it’s time to get crazy!  Let’s get loud!”  He then began a “Let’s Go Sailors” chant, which the crowd returned.

Corrigan cupped his hand behind his ear and shouted, “You call that a chant?  Come on, people!”  The crowd began chanting somewhat louder, but it was still evidently not enough to satisfy the former coach.

“All right, people, I’ll make this simple,” Corrigan snapped.  “Get up and cheer or I’ll kill you!  And I have the means!”  He then pulled a handgun out of the waistband of his pants and pointed it toward the sky.  The camera quickly cut away from Corrigan, and security officers rushed to disarm him and escorted him out of the seating bowl.

Corrigan immediately claimed that he’d been joking.  And upon examination, it turned out that his “gun” was a plastic toy.  On the other hand, the security officers noted that Corrigan was visibly intoxicated and seemed agitated.  They ushered him out of the arena and forbid him from returning.

“We sincerely apologize to any fans who may have been traumatized by Mr. Corrigan’s actions at today’s game,” said GM Taylor Teichman after the game, which the Sailors lost 3-2 in overtime.  “We had no idea that he was planning anything like this, and we never would have let him speak if we had known.  We’ve asked him not to come back to Century 21 Arena, and we hope that he gets the help he so clearly needs.”

Reached for comment afterward, Corrigan insisted that this was all a joke gone awry.  “I’m well aware that I have a reputation as a dangerous hothead,” the former coach told reporters.  “And I thought I would have a little fun with that reputation.  I figured it would be obvious to everyone that it was a joke, but apparently not.  Did they really think I was going to shoot up the place because the fans weren’t cheering loud enough?  How crazy do they think I am?”

Corrigan did acknowledge that he’d been drinking before the game (“perhaps to excess”).  And he said that in retrospect, he should have run the joke by the team first.

Asked to comment on the incident, current Sailors coach Harold Engellund said, “I don’t know what all that was about.  But I can promise you that if I get fired, I’m not going to come back to the arena packing a gun.  I’m not real big into guns.  I prefer fishing.”

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Corrigan Fired As Coach of Sailors

After two seasons full of memorable outbursts and eruptions, the Seattle Sailors have fired coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan.  The move brings the tenure of the SHL’s most volatile, explosive bench boss to an end.

Stewart Corrigan

In two seasons with Seattle, Corrigan compiled a record of 30-84-6.  But it wasn’t the Sailors’ on-ice performance that triggered Corrigan’s dismissal; rather, it was the coach’s track record of over-the-top meltdowns when things didn’t go Seattle’s way.  Reportedly, the team felt that the coach’s lack of self-control was embarrassing and unprofessional.

“We didn’t have any complaints with the job Stewart was doing, to be honest,” said Sailors GM Jay McKay.  “He’s a perfectly fine coach.  But we’ve thought a lot about the sort of person we want representing the public face of the Sailors.  And as much as I like Stewart, we made the call that he wasn’t the right guy for us going forward.”

Corrigan’s list of temper-fueled incidents is legendary around the league.  He threw a roll of athletic tape and shouted an ethnic slur at a referee.  He threw punches at an opposing player who had been attacking his team.  He threw his bench on the ice to protest a call.  He attempted to assault Wolves D Vladimir Beruschko after the player crushed Sailors RW Vince Mango to protest his celebratory on-ice selfie.  He swung a hockey stick at Michigan coach Ron Wright during an argument.

“I understand that I did this to myself,” said Corrigan.  “I’m a passionate guy, sometimes too much.  I’ve always had a temper, and I’ve let it get the better of me on a number of occasions.  I can’t say that I agree with this decision, but I do understand it.  I wish this team the best of luck. Whoever winds up coaching this team next is going to be a lucky guy.  This is going to be a great team.”

McKay said that he intends to “cast a wide net” in searching for Corrigan’s successor.  He indicated that both assistant coach Mark Morganhurst and minor-league coach Randy Bergner would be on the list of candidates.

Corrigan and Wright Have Tense Face-Off

Last week, tensions flared between the Seattle Sailors and Michigan Gray Wolves when Sailors RW Vince Mango snapped an on-ice selfie to celebrate a hat trick and was drilled into the boards by Wolves LW Vladimir Beruschko.  This week, when the teams met for the first time since the incident, and the bad blood nearly turned into a brawl, with the teams’ coaches nearly coming to blows.

Coming into Wendesday’s game, the Sailors talked openly about avenging Mango, their injured star.  “A lot of us weren’t too happy with what [the Wolves] did to Vince,” said LW Rod “Money” Argent.  “We’re really fired up to take them on again.  We’re not taking this lying down.”

Ordinarily, a matchup between basement-dwelling Seattle and high-flying Michigan, especially with the Sailors’ top scorer sidelined, would likely be a blowout.  But the Sailors came in hot and clearly intending to send the Wolves a message.  Seattle took an early 2-0 lead, cashing in on a pair of power plays to get ahead.  Michigan struck back to tie the game by the end of the period, and took the lead on a second-period goal by C Hunter Bailes.

But Seattle didn’t go down easily, as Argent scored on another power play midway through the third to tie it at 3.  When he celebrated his goal using one of Mango’s signature moves, Wolves D “Mad Max” Madison responded by shoving Argent to the ice from behind.  Argent popped up and got in Madison’s face, and both teams swarmed in the center of the ice.  The teams exchanged some shoves, a couple of face washed, and several dirty looks, but the refs managed to break things up before they came to blows.

Stewart Corrigan

Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan took the opportunity to yell at his Michigan counterpart, Ron Wright, between the benches.  “Your team is a bunch of [expletive] thugs!” Corrigan shouted.  “We’re going to get even with you [expletives]!”  Wright largely ignored him.

With three and a half minutes in the game, Bailes scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.  As he skated back to the bench, Sailors D Wayne Snelling gave Bailes a shot to the back of the head.  The furious Wolves jumped off the bench to go after Snelling.  The Sailors raced to their teammate’s assistance.

Ron Wright

As the scrum broke out on the ice, Wright and Corrigan popped over their respective partition to yell at one another.  Wright accused Snelling of deliberately attempting to injure Bailes, who was sidelined with a concussion earlier in the season.  Corrigan shouted back that the Wolves had injured Mango and tried to do the same to Argent.  They continued shouting back and forth, until Corrigan reached down onto his bench and grabbed a stick, which he swung at Wright.  The Michigan boss shouted “You’re [expletive] crazy!” as he jumped back to avoid the stick.

Corrigan was ejected from the game.  Incredibly, no one else on either team was ejected or even penalized.

After the game, both coaches remained irate.  “Corrigan is a clown and a psychopath,” said Wright.  “I don’t know if he’s putting on a show to try to distract everyone from how lousy his team is, or if he really is that much of a rageaholic.  But he’s out of control.  The league needs to do something about him.  Either they need to send him to therapy or just kick him out of the league.  One of these days he’s going to kill somebody.”

In response, Corrigan blasted the Wolves as “a bunch of vicious criminals.  Hockey’s a physical game, but what they do isn’t about hockey.  It’s legalized assault.  Because they won the championship last year, everyone looks the other way.  So when they send their goons out and cripple our best player, everyone says, ‘Oh, who cares?  It’s just [expletive] Seattle.’  But I’m not taking it, and neither is my team.  And you know what?  Every other team out there is secretly cheering us on.  They won’t admit it, but they’re all sick of the [expletive] Michigan gets away with.”

The league fined Corrigan $3,000 and suspended him for a game – the latest in a long line of disciplinary actions that he has faced in his two years as Sailors coach – while also fining Snelling and Madison $1,000 each for their hits.  Wright also received a $500 fine for his part in the hostilities.  “While we have no problem with spirited rivalries in this league,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell, “we definitely have a problem with deliberately trying to injure opposing players.  Both the Wolves and Sailors should be aware that I will have a zero-tolerance policy for any extracurricular activities between them going forward.”

Responded Corrigan: “How much do you want to bet this ‘zero-tolerance policy’ only goes one way?  If one of my guys hits a Michigan player, he’s banned for life.  If one of their thugs maims my guy, he gets a stern talking-to and that’s it.  I know how this league works.”

Mango Hat-Trick Selfie Ignites Controversy

Seattle Sailors RW Vince Mango has emerged in his sophomore season as one of the SHL’s top scorers and most colorful personalities.  His vigorous and theatrical goal celebrations have drawn both admirers and detractors.  However, this week Mango’s showmanship crossed the line, as he snapped an on-ice selfie after scoring a hat trick.  His act inspired a violent retaliation and sparked a league-wide discussion that led to the creation of a new rule.

Vince Mango

When Mango’s Sailors hosted the Michigan Gray Wolves on Tuesday, few expected much in the way of fireworks.  Michigan’s smothering defense seemed likely to shut down Seattle’s attack.  But the speedy Mango proved adept at skating past the Wolves’ blueliners.  Just more than a minute into the game, he banged home a low slapper past Michigan goalie Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist to put the Sailors up 1-0.  Mango celebrated by “playing” his stick like a guitar, which drew a sharp rebuke from Wolves LW Vladimir Beruschko.

Less than a minute into the second period, Mango scorched a shot past a screened Lundquist to give Seattle a 3-1 lead.  That time, he skated past the Michigan bench, using his stick as an imaginary tommy gun and “shooting” at them.  The Wolves responded with curses and upraised middle fingers.

Finally, about four and a half minutes into the third, Sailors D Benny Lambert fed a perfect outlet pass to Mango, who took off on a breakaway.  He deked Lundquist, then went top-shelf to complete his hat trick.  Mango dropped his stick to the ice, then reached into his sock and pulled out his cell phone.  He stuck out his tongue and flashed three fingers, then snapped a selfie with the Wolves goalie sprawled in the background.  He then posted the shot to his Instagram account.

Vladimir Beruschko

Before Mango could celebrate further, he was confronted by an angry Beruschko, who slammed his stick into Mango’s head and freight-trained the Sailors star into the boards.  Mango suffered a concussion, a bone bruise on his shoulder, and several loose teeth.  He was taken off the ice on a stretcher, and is expected to be out of action for at least the next couple of weeks.  Beruschko was ejected from the game, which the Sailors won 4-2.

A furious Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan attempted to jump onto the ice to attack Bersuchko as he headed to the dressing room.  Corrigan was restrained by several of his players and was unable to get at the Wolves winger.

After the game, Corrigan called for Beruschko to be suspended.  “If he did that outside of the arena, he’d have been arrested for assault,” the Seattle coach fumed.  “My guy was just celebrating a job well done, and he gets knocked into next week by this thug.  Vince had a shot at the scoring title, but this [injury] might cost him his chance.  Berzerko better hope he doesn’t cross my path in the parking lot, or I’ll take care of him.”

In response, Wolves coach Ron Wright blasted Mango’s selfie stunt.  “Look, what Vlad did was over the line, I’ll grant that,” Wright said.  “But I’m getting sick and tired of Mango’s punk moves on the ice.  A lot of teams around the league feel the same way.  He should get hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for those idiot celebrations he does.  But the league just looks the other way.  And now he’s pulling out his goddamn phone on the ice?  It’s childish and irresponsible and dangerous.  Vlad shouldn’t have hit him as hard as he did, but do I understand why he did?  Absolutely.  Somebody’s got to draw the line.”

The SHL reviewed the incident and assessed Beruschko a one-game suspension.  The league also passed a rule forbidding players from bringing phones onto the ice during a game.  “It’s a player-safety issue,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “When players are on the ice, they need to be alert, and if they’re on their phones, they’re not paying attention.  We also don’t want to see any copycat incidents in the future.”

For his part, Mango said that he has no regrets.  “It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and I’m glad I got it,” the Seattle star said.  “And thanks to the new rule, no one else will ever get a shot like that, so that’s cool.”  Asked if he had a message for Beruschko and the Wolves, Mango said, “They owe me a new phone.  Mine got broken when I got hit.”

Corrigan Loses It Again

If there’s one thing Seattle Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan has become known for in his season-plus on the bench, it’s his explosive temper.  On multiple occasions, Corrigan has boiled over at referees or opposing players, earning himself fines and suspensions in the process.  The coach was at it again this week, getting himself ejected from a game after chucking his bench on the ice.

Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan

The eruption occurred in the 2nd period of Seattle’s game against the Michigan Gray Wolves.  Already trailing 3-0, Corrigan and the Sailors became upset at a perceived imbalance in the calls.  Seattle had just succeeded in killing off a 5-on-3 deficit when, with a little more than 2 minutes left in the period, LW Rod “Money” Argent was whistled for cross-checking.  It was the sixth penalty called on the Sailors, against only one whistled on the Wolves.

The penalty on Argent sent Corrigan over the edge. “Coach felt like Michigan was already strong enough, and it wasn’t fair that they were getting the calls too,” said Sailors D Benny Lambert.  “He started turning redder and redder.”

Corrigan directed a stream of obscenities at head referee Laurent Villiers, who largely ignored him.  But when Wolves C Wesley Knight potted a power play goal 9 seconds later to make it 4-0, the Seattle couldn’t take it any more.  He grabbed hold of one end of the wooden bench (causing several Sailors to scatter) and lifted it in the air before flinging it on the ice.  He followed that up with three or four sticks, at which point Villiers ejected him from the game.

The SHL imposed a one-game suspension on top of the ejection.  “The safety of our players and officials is paramount,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “Flinging projectiles on the ice is unacceptable, as someone could easily have been hurt.  This is not an acceptable way for a coach to express his frustrations, as Coach Corrigan well knows, given the number of discussions we have had about his behavior.  It might be time for the coach to consider anger management counseling.”

The Seattle coach professed to be mystified by the suspension.  “I mean, it’s not like I threw the bench or the sticks at anybody,” said Corrigan.  “I made a point of hurling them at open ice.  What’s wrong with bringing a little color and excitement to a blowout?  And besides, I made my point.”  Corrigan noted that the remaining four penalties in the game were all whistled on the Wolves.  “I don’t think that was a coincidence.”

Corrigan Goes Crazy, Gets Suspended Again

Seattle SmallSeattle Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan is has become notorious around the league for his explosive temper and over-the-top outbursts.  Earlier this season, Corrigan was fined and suspended for firing a projectile and directing an ethnic slur at a referee while protesting a call.  This time, though, Corrigan went even further, directing his anger – and his fists – at an opposing player.

Stewart Corrigan
Stewart Corrigan

The fracas occurred during Seattle’s Friday game against the Dakota Rapids.  D Marty Trammell was in the lineup for Dakota and he played his typically physical game, which seemed to rub Corrigan and the Sailors the wrong way.  The burly defensive got into a couple of fights during the game.  In the first period, he faced off with former teammate Trevor Green, who has been a vocal critic of violence in the game.  Green later claimed that Trammell had targeted him due to lingering resentment over his comments.

“I mean, the guy outweighs me by 100 pounds,” said Green.  “What kind of fair fight is that?”

After several hard checks that weren’t called, much to the dismay of the Seattle bench, Trammell laid a devastating hit on D Joey “Pig Iron” Morris.  The Sailors defender bounced up and began shoving Trammell, who dropped the gloves and threw hands.  The referees wound up separating the two after a bit, with head linesman Ken Glidden pulling Trammell past the Seattle bench.

As Trammell and Glidden skated past, Corrigan yelled and cursed at Trammell.  The Dakota defender broke free of Glidden’s grasp, pointing and shouting back at the Sailors coach.  At that point, Corrigan snapped, grabbed Trammell’s jersey, and threw a couple wild haymakers.  Trammell threw his hands up in shock, and several Seattle players quickly subdued their coach.  Referee Brandon Winters immediately ejected Corrigan from the game.

After the game, Corrigan sounded a defiant note.  “Trammell was steamrolling our guys out there, and someone had to stand up and say enough,” the coach said.  He then added with a laugh, “I have to say, my boxing form could use a little work.  I’ve seen the tape, and it kind of looked like my old bar fighting days, only this time I was sober.”

The league acted swiftly and decisively, suspending Corrigan for 5 games.  “There’s no excuse for a coach to take a swing at a player,” said Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “None.  We cannot condone this kind of behavior.”

In his first press conference after being suspended, Corrigan was more contrite.  “I know that I went over the line,” the coach said.  “I’m a passionate guy, and I can get caught up in the moment.  I was really upset with Trammell and the fact that we weren’t getting whistles, but I let Angry Stewie take over.  I know I’m not helping our team any if I’m not on the bench.”

Assistant coach Mark Morganhurst will coach the Sailors during Corrigan’s suspension.