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!”