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USA Hockey introduced John Tortorella as the head coach of the 2016 U.S. World Cup of Hockey team on Monday night on ESPN. On Tuesday, they held a media teleconference – streaming live to any fan that wanted to listen to it, via USAHockey.com – with Tortorella and Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi taking questions about the selection.
And, apparently, also questions about jock straps, dolphin movies and whether Tortorella’s mother is bald.
The USA Hockey teleconference was hijacked by prank callers, three in a row, which knocked the event off its rails. You can listen to that segment above.
The first question of the entire press conference was from “Gil Johnson of Slapshot.org,” who stumbled through his question before saying “your mama’s so bald, even a wig wouldn’t help … did you hear that one?” and ending with “eh, puck you!”
The second question came from “Blake Thomas” from some sort of Free Press, who asked what Tortorella’s favorite dolphin movie was.
The third question came from “Mike Wilson from the New American Gazette,” which is the fakiest fake name that ever faked, but apparently the screening process for this press conference was done by a welcome mat. Mike’s question: “When it comes to high sticking, which player on the team wears the biggest jock strap?”
We almost had a fourth prank, but USA Hockey media relations guru Dave Fischer thankfully shut down a question from “Kim Simmons of the Hockey Gazette.”
After that the press conference settled in with real questions.
In all my years, on all my press conferences, this has never happened before. This was just an embarrassment on all fronts: The screening process that allowed it, the fact that the fiasco was streamed live, and the fact that these prank calls were painfully uncreative. Wither Baba Booey?
But most of all, because [crap] like this makes it harder for journalists from alternative media sites to have access to events like this. Travis Hughes, a guy who’s been credentialed for everything from the Stanley Cup Playoffs to USA Hockey events, was passed over later in the call because he writes for SB Nation, USA Hockey didn’t recognize it, and they couldn’t afford yet another potential prank.
(Dave Fischer, being really good at his job, did ask Hughes' question for him after the snafu.)
So that sucked. But we imagine Tortorella took the whole thing in stride. He seems fairly even tempered.
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