Last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the St. Louis Blues at the Nationwide Arena. It is a common pre-game ritual for hockey players to play a quick game of soccer outside the hallway of the locker room to loosen up before the game. But an altercation occurred when the Blues decided to do it less than 100-feet away from the Blue Jackets locker room.
According to Columbus Dispatch writer Tom Reed, it is an unwritten rule of the NHL for teams to come not within 200-feet of their opponent in the locker room hallway. The Blue’s decision to have their soccer game less than 100-feet from the home team broke that rule. Then, St Louis’ close proximity interfered with R.J Umberger’s pre-game sprints in the hallway. Umberger, who is the Jackets’ alternate captain, ran right through the circle where the soccer game was going on.
Umberger’s interruption caused a verbal altercation between the Blues players and Umberger, with Umberger’s teammates stepping in. The incident escalated so much that arena security stepped it.
It is unclear how many players were involved or how it ended, but the Blue Jackets settled the score on the ice winning the game 8-1.
Of course, in the old NHL players wouldn’t be playing soccer, and any altercation was solved with a bench clearing brawl!