A lot of major titles in sports have been decided on controversial plays….from the ‘Hand of God’ in the ’86 World Cup, to Brett Hull in the crease during the final play of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. But never, ever have I witnessed a championship decided in such a bizarre fashion than it was over the weekend in Newfoundland.
Granted, the Herder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the best senior hockey team in Newfoundland/Labrador, isn’t huge – but, like any hockey title, it takes blood, sweat and tears to win. Which makes what went down on Sunday afternoon all the more unbelievable.
With just over four minutes remaining in the third period of the final game of a best-of-five series between the Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars and the Clarenville Ford Caribous, the Stars scored to pull ahead, 4-3. The problem is, the puck never went IN the net…..rather, it went UNDER it.
Caribous goalie Jason Churchill had his skate tight against the goal post, and says he watched the puck slide under the side of the net. And video, compliments of NTV News, proves his account is correct…
After the Caribous held on for the win, both coaches and players gave officials and angry earful – and while I’m not necessarily a fan of going after the referees, this was truly an awful – not to mention, devastating – call. Realizing that instant replay isn’t an automatic option at this level, with SO much protest and controversy, could the officials not have found some kind of video before awarding the championship to just double check before sealing the deal? The footage obviously existed (see above) – and with a cup on the line, it’s pretty important to make sure you get it right. Right?!?
Really, we’re coming off a weekend in which a pro golfer endured a four shot penalty for an infracation more than 24 hours PRIOR, and that was emailed in by a TV viewer! Is it too much to ask that officials take a breath, take a look, and ensure the deal was legit?
My thoughts, anyway. What do you think? ~ Jason