BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Some players from Team Russia got booted from a flight at the Buffalo Airport. Now questions are being raised on whether the "unruly" players were underage drinking after Wednesday night's game.
The players and their coaches are now staying at the Days Hotel, forced to spend an extra day after being ejected from their plane ride back home Thursday morning for what Delta calls "unruly behavior."
We spoke to three people who say they witnessed Team Russia players drinking in the bar area at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo at 2 and 3 o'clock Thursday morning.
Kyle Scott said, "Everybody just came back here and they blocked off, didn't even block off, kids were going up getting autographs, they were signing sticks, all their hockey sticks. Definitely had a little silly smirk on their faces all night. [They were drinking] a lot of vodka."
Many were still wearing their medals and posing for pictures. In a hotel bar, like Adam's Mark, it is not illegal for minors to be at a table near the bar with guardians. But if they were at the bar actually drinking, that's another story. A State Liquor Authority spokesman said the SLA is looking into it. The Adam's Mark General Manager was unavailable for comment.
After winning gold Wednesday night, the team was booked on a Delta flight to Atlanta at 6:10 a.m. But as Delta puts it, "The crew of flight 126 (BUF-ATL) opted to deny boarding to 30 passengers displaying unruly behavior to ensure the safe operation of the flight. These passengers will be re-booked on a future flight."
The team's media officer thinks Delta overreacted. He says the team had champagne in the locker rooms, but was not unruly on the plane.
Media officer Mikhail Zislis said, "I think it was unfair because our coaches, I mean, our experienced guys, our older guys ensure that nothing will go wrong."
Alexander Tyjnych is an agent for one of Team Russia's players. He's not saying the players were drinking, just happy.
"Very happy right now. I think they're very happy," said Tyjnych.
These young men just want to get home to a hero's welcome. Now the players are scheduled for two flights on Friday.
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