Russian Hockey Team Kicked Off Delta Flight

Russia's World Junior Hockey Championships gold medal-winning team is on its way home after a day's delay – caused by the team's rowdiness at the Buffalo Niagara airport. The team and their coaches were kicked off a Delta Air Lines to Atlanta yesterday after the celebration of their gold medal win got a bit out of hand.

Reports say the team appeared in a good mood when they arrived back at the airport today.

They were booked on two separate flights out of Buffalo. They even stopped to pose for photos with travelers.

Forward Yevgeni Kuznetsov said jokingly, "I feel better."

Yesterday, Delta denied the team boarding saying in a statement, "To ensure the safe operation of the flight, the crew of flight 1266 (BUF-ATL) denied travel to 30 passengers who were traveling together and displaying unruly behavior."

The Russians had reason to celebrate. After being down by three goals, the team made a dramatic comeback and beat Canada 5-3 in the championship game Wednesday night. It was Russia's first gold medal win since 2003.

The partying started about 90 minutes after the victory when Russian coaches and trainers came on the ice – one holding a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian whiskey and others drinking from paper cups.

The junior players, age 20 or under, had already left the ice, but they were also seen partying late into the night in a hotel bar.

After being denied access to the early morning Delta flight, the contingent extended its stay in upstate New York, heading to the Days Hotel near the airport -- where clerks said they were "sleeping it off."

Team spokesman Mickhail Zislis told The Associated Press everyone was anxious to get back to Russia.

He also refuted Delta's claims of unruly behavior, saying the coach had assured the crew he could keep his players under control.

"I don't think it was fair," Zislis said. "They didn't want to listen to us."

Photo, smithwithclass, flickr
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