MONTREAL - Pat Hickey of Montreal’s The Gazette newspaper is back home and his car has a new license plate, but the story isn’t quite finished.
Hickey’s old Honda, which has carried him hundreds of thousands of kilometres covering the Habs, was vandalized after Game 1 in the parking lot at the Wachovia Center. His Quebec license plate was stolen, a tire slashed and a rock deflector ripped off.
On Thursday, Hickey thought he had found someone responsible after a picture of his stolen license plate was posted on Facebook. The Philadelphia Inquirer tracked a man down through the Facebook page, but he claimed he only found the picture online and posted it.
The man, a Flyers fan, said he was not at Game 1, but knows who vandalized Hickey’s car.
Hickey called the Canadian border crossing to see if he would have an issue getting his car back into Canada without the license plate, but was told officials knew the story. He didn’t have a problem.
He was stopped twice by police on his way home because he didn’t have a license plate.
“It was only for a two or three minutes each time. I showed them the registration and the police report and I was on my way,” said Hickey.
He’s received hundreds of emails after the incident.
“I’ve had a couple from lawyers in Philadelphia wanting to take on the case,” said Hickey, who said he plans to file a claim for the damages - estimated at $1,000 - with the Flyers and the Wachovia Center.
He has said he wouldn’t press charges if the parties responsible donated $1,000 to charity.
“Our fans are very enthusiastic, but this was something we never want to see,” said Peter Luuko, the president of the Flyers parent company, Comcast Spectacor. “This was something totally unnecessary.”
Flyers fans are notoriously tough on out-of-town sports fans, hurling racial slurs at some fans wearing Canadiens gear (even though some of the Flyers top players are French-Canadian, as well).
A touch of irony is Hickey is an American.