A Federal Hockey League game between the Carolina Thunderbirds and Elmira Enforcers was stopped due to an altercation between a team owner and the on-ice officials.
Sunday’s game in New York came to an early and abrupt end after just the opening period of play.
A controversial goal scored by Thunderbirds head coach Andre Niec put his club up 2-1. Replays in the arena appeared to show that the puck may not have crossed the goal line, though a replay obtained by Bus League Hockey appears to show the puck deflecting off the back bar.
Frustrated fans voiced their displeasure with the call, with Enforcers players leaving the bench.
Though the officials were able to calm things down and resume the game, the Elmira fans – and their owner – were still unhappy with the referees. Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols confronted the officiating crew as they were leaving the ice after the first period.
Nichols pushed one of the referees, tearing the shirt of the other official, according to an email from FHL officiating supervisor Eugene Binda.
“You really can’t go after officials like that so I’m not sure what’s going to happen because it’s a league matter at this point,” said Thunderbirds general manager Scott Brand.
The officials exited the ice and, fearing for their safety, decided not to return.
“They said it was an unsafe environment so they got out of there,” Brand said.
Police were called to the scene, where they were met by “an unruly crowd complaining of ‘inconsistent performance’ by referees,” according to WENY. No charges were filed, though the incident was documented and report filed by police.