The management of a high-end Calgary restaurant got into a bitter dispute over a nearly $17,000 New Year's Eve bill racked up by members of the Edmonton Oilers.
Maurizio Terrigno, general manager of Osteria de Medici, the restaurant where former U.S. president George W. Bush dined when he was in Calgary last year, said the team and staff owed $16,796.39 but wanted a break on the bill and paid only $12,385.45.
About half of the bill is for alcohol totalling $8,248, including dozens of shots of tequila, bottles of expensive wine and $1,000 champagne.
"These guys came in, they enjoyed our hospitality and when the bill came ... they went ballistic to the point where they started threatening, denigrating my staff saying ‘We're the Edmonton Oilers, we expect a 50% discount,'" said Terrigno.
Terrigno said 45 people ordered off the menu and their total bill came up to $14,234.23, including $677.98 for GST, but excluding the usual 18% tip for a large group.
The Oilers lost to the Calgary Flames earlier and after they wound up at the planned function at Osteria in Kensington.
Oilers spokesman Allan Watt said the restaurant was recommended by some Calgary friends of the players and they had a prearranged meal and menu.
"They received the bill which they felt was outrageous," said Watt.
"They inquired about it and they were unhappy about it and were unhappy with some of the charges. The restaurant adjusted it by $7,000," he said.
Watt said the players paid the adjusted bill and added a $1,900 tip and left the restaurant.
Terrigno said the group, which included team captain Ethan Moreau, attempted to negotiate a discount on the bill.
He said the players argued they should pay by the bottle for dozens of shooters purchased during the bash, but the restaurant charged them for each one individually.
The restaurant tried to charge for a bottle of an imported expensive brandy after one of the players took a swig straight from it.
"They refused to pay for the whole bottle because they didn't consume the whole bottle," said Terrigno.
He said there's no way the restaurant will serve other clients from the same bottle.
Terrigno said at one point he threatened to call cops, but the players eventually paid $12,385.45.
"It's the first time during the 37 years of business have I ever experienced something like this," he said.
"What's more upsetting is we know who they are."
Terrigno said because he was infuriated by what happened he plans on donating the money the players paid the restaurant to charity.