Hockey Team Leaves Ugly Mark

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 20, 1998 | Go to article overview

Hockey Team Leaves Ugly Mark


Byline: Mark Alesia

The three tenors - Chelios, Hull and Roenick - were on their way home in the wake of even more embarrassing news Thursday out of Nagano. The U.S. Olympic men's hockey team was being investigated for doing more than just talking trash.

Some players are alleged to have created it, not just figuratively, on the ice, but literally, in their dormitory rooms. Apparently, some American players wreaked havoc after their awful 1-3 performance. We have heard that chairs were broken, two apartments were damaged by fire extinguishers, and one extinguisher was thrown from the fifth floor into a courtyard during the incident.

These guys didn't just steal towels. Come to think of it, the towels would have been a good idea - to wave in surrender before games, sparing everyone the spectacle of what happened.

"I don't want the whole team branded if it's the actions of just a couple, but there's certainly evidence," said David Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, reacting to reports of trashed dorm rooms.

What a disgrace.

This, of course, is the same dormitory situation where the players had many people, including myself, fooled into believing they were earnest participants in the Olympic experience, not just Olympic glory. But this group apparently could not stop at underachieving on the ice. They had to make absolutely certain they left their mark as Ugly Americans.

This came after the players had already shot off their mouths before games, which works a lot better if you back it up with some goals. And, of course, there was the 4 a.m. trip to the karaoke bar by Chris Chelios of the Blackhawks, Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick. The tape of Hull singing sounded so awful that you thought it was a parody rigged up by a bored radio studio engineer.

"By no means am I embarrassed," Chelios said after a loss to the Czech Republic bounced the team out of the tournament.

By all means, Chelios should be embarrassed.

Yes, he is a popular Chicago guy with a well-earned reputation for toughness and desire. Yes, he played better than most of teammates at the Olympics. But he was still the one wearing the captain's "C" on his uniform for a team sorely in need of leadership. …

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