Caps' Wilson: USOC threats won't help

March 08, 1998|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Olympic hockey coach Ron Wilson expressed his disappointment last night that no one has accepted responsibility for the damage that occurred in the Olympic Village following the team's loss to the Czech Republic in Nagano, Japan, on Feb. 19, and released his frustration over the speculation about the incident.

"I think it's gotten to the point now, where you're never going to see anyone step forward," Wilson said after his Washington Capitals broke an eight-game winless streak with a 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. "Putting a bunch of threats together, I think that solidifies a team and prevents anybody from coming forward."

U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Hockey officials have said players damaged three apartments, breaking furniture and emptying fire extinguishers, threw one extinguisher into a courtyard from five floors up and caused -- at last report -- $3,000 in damage. Officials also said other Olympic athletes, who were to compete the next day, had their sleep disturbed. And officials have said they may ask for sanctions against the entire U.S. team if the guilty do not step forward.

Wilson said such threats are the "prerogative" of the ruling bodies, but added, with rising irritation, that everything that has happened has been blown out of proportion "big time."

Wilson said that no one but the culprits know what happened and that he is "sick of hearing about things that never happened."

"It's getting to the point where every day its something else happened and it's blame the U.S. hockey team," he said, noting varying reports of $1,000 to $3,000 in damages, one to three fire extinguishers damaged, and six to 10 chairs left broken.

He said the guilty players' actions are "inexcusable," but added, "They're not going to step forward. So what should be done? If it happened [in a business office] if someone came in, and no one knows who did it, and fired off a fire extinguisher and threw some chairs out the window. what would happen? Would everyone who worked there get fired? It's the same thing. If someone doesn't have the courage to step forward how do you make them speak?"

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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