'Unruly' Russians grounded after all-night victory party: Team barred from flight home after besting Canada
07.01.2011. Dempsey, Amy. Toronto Star

 After players screamed triumphantly into every TV camera in sight, Team Russia's frenzied on-ice celebration spilled into the dressing room.

The fete following their win over Canada at the world junior hockey championship in Buffalo continued with gusto at a hotel bar.

Hours later, gold-medal euphoria carried the team onto a bus and followed them all the way to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

And only then - when every member of the junior hockey team was kicked off an early morning Delta Air Lines flight for "unruly behaviour" - did the victory party come to a grinding halt.

The exhausted young men flopped on their gear bags and took a rest.

Addressing the media on Thursday afternoon, team spokesman Mikhail Zislis denied Delta's claim that the group was unruly and accused the crew of overreacting. He said coach Valeri Bragin assured the crew he would keep his players under control.

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

Zislis said the players celebrated their win with champagne - nothing stronger - in the locker-room.

But the boys were caught on video in a hotel bar, grinning and hooting with beer bottles in hand.

Russia scored five goals in the third period of Wednesday night's game, swiftly stealing a three-point lead from a stunned Team Canada. The game was the most-watched telecast ever on TSN.

Surrounded by family and friends at the hotel bar, the team cheered multiple rounds of "Russia! Russia!" and "Beat Canada! Beat Canada!"

The players, who partied well into the night, may or may not have slept before boarding a bus at the Adam's Mark Hotel around 3 a.m.

"They were so drunk, they had to carry a couple of the guys onto the bus," driver Curtis Hall told the Buffalo News.

En route, Hall said some players honked his horn. One had trouble getting off the bus when they arrived at the airport and the driver had to wait while the player made a slow exit.

"I was glad to get rid of them," Hall said.

"To ensure the safe operation of the flight, the crew of Flight 1266 denied boarding to 30 passengers who were travelling together and displaying unruly behaviour," said Delta spokeswoman Susan Chana Elliott.

After getting booted off the flight, the team checked into a nearby hotel, where front-desk staff said they were "sleeping it off."

Team members are scheduled to return home on two separate flights Friday, arriving the day of the country's Orthodox Christmas.

On Twitter, many greeted news of Team Russia's wild night with admiration.

"Dear Russian hockey players, getting kicked off flight because you were too drunk has left me thoroughly impressed," one Canadian tweeted.

Another defended the tradition of the postgame party. "(H)ockey players, Russian or Canadian, are hockey players not boy scouts or girl scouts for that matter."

With files from Associated Press

Финал. Канада - Россия.
За 3 место. Швеция - США.
Подгруппа А
США, Финляндия, Словакия, Швейцария, Германия
Подгруппа В
Канада, Россия, Швеция, Чехия, Норвегия
За 7-10 места
Чехия, Словакия, Норвегия, Германия.
1/4 финала
Канада - Швейцария
Финляндия - Россия

1/2 финала
Швеция - Россия
США - Канада
За 5-6 места. Финляндия - Швейцария
За 3-4 места. Швеция - США.
За 1-2 места. Канада - Россия

Первая страничка турнира
Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2011 года.
Первая страничка
Дивизион I. Группа А
Дивизион I. Группа B
Дивизион II. Группа А
Дивизион II. Группа B
Дивизион III