December 28, 2010
Buffalo, NY, is currently hosting the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships much in the same way you might host a slovenly college roomate who leaves empty cans of Schlitz all over the house and who traded your watch for a pizza. Which is to say, the host isn't exactly getting much respect.
Two exclamation points indicates he really meant it.
The tweet has since been deleted from Etem's account (which, thankfully, has not been deleted itself). Yet he's not the only hockey guest "trashing" Buffalo's good name according to ABC 7, which has opened a full investigation into people disparaging Buffalo (we assume it's a multi-part series). From WKBW:
Channel 7 also found hockey websites trashing Buffalo. Two sports bloggers from Sweden who are here covering the tournament had this to say.
"Coming to Buffalo was like falling into a scene from the movie "28 Days Later" minus all the zombies. The streets were horrible fate," bloggers said.
A fan from Finland also had negative comments. "Downtown is like a ghost city after six p.m. so all you can do is sit in a hotel lobby bar. HSBC is a nice arena but take one wrong exit from the highway and you find yourself in a very, very, very scary ghetto," the Finland fan said.
Jess Rubenstein of The Prospect Park thinks the media backlash against the Buffalo backlash is making it worse:
Even sadder is the Buffalo media making this into a major news story when maybe they should be asking where the American fans were for Team USA's opening game? If not for the estimated 10-15 thousand Canadians making the trip then the stands just might have been empty and Etem's ghost town remark just might have been closer to the truth than people realize.
Being from New Jersey, I get the coiled-snake response to any sort of criticism of your town. Sometimes you let it slide and laugh along; other times, you want to bite their neck and fill them with your unique brand of venom.
In this case, Etem's a West Coast kid (raised in Long Beach) snarking on the Northeast. Whatever. When he comes to play the Sabres as a Duck, show up dressed as a ghost or something.
Were I a Buffalonian, I'd rather hunt down and pummel those Swedish bloggers who dare call one of our fair cities a zombie wasteland. No one who gave the world ABBA and Ulf Samuelsson has room to criticize ...
UPDATE: After the jump, Etem apologizes.
"My point to get across was not to put down a great host city like this - I know a lot of people put in time and effort to make this [tournament] possible," the 18-year-old Anaheim Ducks prospect said. "For me it's the middle of winter and people aren't out. It's really cold outside so, like I said, the point for me was not to put down Buffalo."
Etem answered questions about the Tweet from a handful of media after U.S. practice on Tuesday morning, before a team official shouted that he would only be taking "hockey questions."
In fewer than 140 characters, the winger who plays with the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers said Buffalo made the Alberta town of 61,000 look like a "paradise" in comparison. "It was a poorly written Tweet by me, I meant bad conditions," explained Etem, who hails from Long Beach, Calif. "I came from Medicine Hat... it was warm out and then I come here and not a lot of people are out and it's expected - it's the middle of winter."
So there you go.