Phantoms have reportedly referred last night’s pre-game warm up row to the NIHL’s League Management Committee.
The dispute started when Phantoms emerged for the traditional twenty minute pre-game warm up but with no sign of Bison who were still in their locker room. When Bison did emerge, they appeared to further delay entering the ice-pad before making it known to Phantoms officials that they would not leave the ice at the end of the twenty minute warm up until they had completed a further five minutes. Phantoms officials made it known to them that this would not be permitted as pre-game preparation would need to commence to avoid a late face-off.
Once the buzzer went for the end of the warm up, approximately half of the Bison team refused to leave the ice and continued warming up. Several announcements were made requesting that they left the ice but without response. Even when the lights were turned off, they stayed on the ice and even continued to fire slapshots when the zamboni doors had opened with staff and fans in the firing line.
When they did eventually leave the ice, a number of Bison players hurled personal abuse at Phantoms officials which, in turn, encouraged a number of Bison fans to join in. Rink security was called and remained in place for the start of the game.
The matter was referred to referee Stephen Matthews before the game and he assured officials that any repeat of the abuse during the game would result in players being thrown out but there were no further incidents.