Like all leagues, the minor-league Western Hockey League has to look for ways to save cash in clever new ways. Still, some might question their most recent idea: They're having two teams locked in the league's signature playoff series share a plane when traveling between their two cities, which are a massive 962 miles apart.
As reported by Prep Rally's brotherly Canadian Junior Hockey blog Buzzing the Net, the Portland Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings are sharing a plane which has been chartered by the Western Hockey League when traveling between the two cities in different countries that comprise the sites for the WHL final.
While that might not seem like a bad idea during cool-headed times, it can lead to some second guessing when one considers that the two teams of teenagers and 20-somethings have already engaged in a series of NHL-quality fights during their series.
To whit, Portland's Brad Ross and Edmonton's Jordan Peddle fought and were ejected for game misconduct (for that fight) on Sunday, before the teams were scheduled to fly back to Edmonton after Tuesday's game. Portland defenseman Joe Morrow also fought Edmonton's Keegan Lowe in that game.
Even the coaches aren't happy with each other, with Edmonton's Derek Laxdal reportedly carping about an alleged cheap shot leveled against Edmonton star Mitch Moroz following Edmonton's key third goal in a 4-3 loss.
According to the Portland Oregonian, while the initial shared flight from Edmonton to Portland led to "not a lot of socializing," the WHL has stepped in to create a questionable buffer between the teams for the return flight back to the Oil Kings' home rink: A midsection of the plane filled by media members and league officials.
As Buzzing the Net's Neate Sager noted, that arrangement might just work, so long as there are bathrooms at both ends of the plane. If not, the league might want to make sure to put a couple extra air marshals on board just to be safe.