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The scoreboard and goal lights weren t working last night at the antiquated Sports Arena.
Neither was the Toledo Storm.
As non-functional as some of the mechanics in the 56-year-old building they call home, the Storm was embarrassed first by its facility, then by Trenton 6-1.
With the lackluster performance, 9-11-3 Toledo blew a chance to move past the Titans and into seventh place in the ECHL s Northern Division.
The off-ice antics that resulted from what Storm vice president and general manager Mike Miller called an “unknown problem” may have been more entertaining than the Storm.
Each of the goals was signaled by waving a cone-topped flashlight.
One goal judge joked: “I ve got to leave with three minutes to go because I ve got to direct traffic out of the parking lot.”
By then, he could have saved the batteries.
Many in the announced crowd of 3,255 had long-since left. Some that stayed spent their pre-Christmas evening serenading coach Steve Harrison and his team with carols of booing and cat-calls.
Harrison waved his hand when approached after the shellacking and almost declined comment.
“I was surprised they weren t ready to play,” Miller said. “I think everybody in the room, from the players to the coaching staff to the whole organization ... when you come into a weekend like this, you re playing a club you have a chance to leapfrog in the standings.
“You re back in your building, you want to establish yourself for a stretch run. Yes, I was very disappointed.”
Miller would not comment further.
“What can be done to fix it?” Storm captain Alexandre Jacques repeated. “As sure as you are looking at me right now, I can t find an answer. You ask me that question so many times, I don t want to be dishonest.
“It s easy, it s out there. It s just to play with heart, emotion and to play as a unit. Some trades have been made and it didn t make a big difference.
“The coach can only do so much. We know what we have to do out there. He s trying to find ways to motivate us and we re just not responding. The fans can be mad at the coach. I knew it was going to be a situation like that coming from last year with Claude [Noel] getting coach of the year and turning a team that was last the year before into first place.
“It s a tough situation for a coach coming here. It s not up to the coaches, it s up to us. We re just not responding.”
Just like the score clock.
Timekeeper Gary Hoot ran the amateur hockey board attached to the front of the press box. Because it can only count down from 19 minutes, Hoot had to use a stopwatch for the first minute before switching to the mini-board, which he had to reset with the tip of a pen.
“As long as I hear this thing clicking, I know it s going,” said Hoot, who could not see the board without leaning out of the pressbox.
Whether the Storm and the mechanics respond for tonight s 7:30 rematch with Trenton remains to be seen.
As one observer put it: “Somebody will have to call Thomas Edison to have the vacuum tubes made.”
While they re working on that resurrection, many would surely want to inquire if the father of the light bulb had any bright ideas for the defending Brabham Cup champions.
FLYERS/COMRIE: Center Mike Comrie and the Philadelphia Flyers have agreed on a one-year contract, the Associated Press learned last night.
Comrie was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday for former first-round pick Jeff Woywitka and two draft picks.