|A man is escorted from the building after he threw waffles onto the ice during play in the third period of Monday's game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Maple Leafs. (Michael Peake/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO - Anyone tossing waffles or other projectiles on the ice at future Maple Leafs games could be toast, at least at future Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. events and venues.
The higher-ups at the company are poised to take a harder line after a fan forced a stoppage in play Monday night by dumping a box of breakfast waffles with the Leafs on an odd-man rush at the time.
A man was charged with mischief by Toronto Police said MLSEL’s Bob Hunter, executive vice-president for Venues and Entertainment. Hunter said the person will be barred from ACC events, such as concerts, and all MLSEL properties such as BMO Field “until further notice.”
“Being banned from the ACC for all events, we feel is a strong deterrent,” Hunter said Tuesday.
As for monitoring coming home games for copy cats, Hunter added: “Standard practice and procedures will continue. We search all bags now, and do random pat-downs. Pre-game warnings (about throwing articles on the ice) may be repeated more than once.”
The Leafs players have not disputed that they deserve jeering for spinning their wheels in 28th place and facing a possible sixth consecutive season out of the playoffs. But winger Kris Versteeg cited the timing of Monday’s waffle toss and the danger aspect to players on both the Leafs and the visiting Atlanta Thrashers.
“When it’s during the play, that’s stupidity right there,” Versteeg said. “It’s one thing if it’s during a TV timeout, but it’s not what you want to see during the play. It’s a free commercial for Eggo, that’s what it is.”
Defenceman Luke Schenn called the behaviour “brutal” and didn’t want to see an escalation into some harder, sharp-edged items being aimed at players or officials.
“It’s one thing to boo you and getting all over you that way, another for them to start throwing things all over the ice,” Schenn said. “I’m not sure what the waffles are all about. We don’t talk about that much in here.”
Coach Ron Wilson, who heard another round of chants urging the team to fire him, said he was more perturbed by his team’s play on Monday than the crowd.
“I have strong shoulders,” he said.