AHL suspends coach for stick-breaking tirade


ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia (AP) — Abbotsford Heat coach Jim Playfair says that while he is not proud of the stick-breaking tantrum that got him fined by the American Hockey League, he won’t apologize for it.

“It isn’t my proudest moment for sure,” he said Monday. “It’s not to the point where it’s embarrassing.”

The amount of the fine was undisclosed.

Playfair, a former NHL player and coach of the Calgary Flames, was upset after one of his players was given a 5-minute penalty and game misconduct Saturday by referee Jamie Koharski for running into Hamilton’s goalie.

The coach tore off his suit jacket, stood on the bench and smashed two sticks over the boards, throwing the pieces on the ice.

“It is what it is,” Playfair said Monday after the Heat practiced. “I’m not going to apologize for it.

“It’s part of the emotion level you have to have to get to be a professional person. That’s what happened.”

The 45-year-old Playfair said his own children have shown him the video “20 or 30 times.”

“I can’t take it back. I can have you check my history and it’s just not something I do consistently. It’s not a motivational tool. It’s something that happened in the heat of the moment.”

Playfair regrets that his actions send the wrong message to children watching hockey.

“I have kids in minor hockey myself,” he said. “I understand a parent’s perception of it.

“It’s not cool. I do apologize to the kids and parents. It’s not right.”

After the game, Playfair called the owner of the Heat, the president of the Flames and the president of the AHL to explain his actions.

“I expressed to those people how I feel,” he said. “It’s not the proper action of any type of coach.

“Let’s be serious. It’s not what you are supposed to do when you are a professional person in a market where we are trying to educate people and kids on how to play. It’s not the right thing to do.”

Playfair also wants to speak with Koharski.

“I will make the effort to speak with the referee and explain,” he said. “He’s a young referee that carries around a big family name.

“He is trying to get to the highest level.”

Koharski is the son of retired NHL official Don Koharski, who was involved in one of the NHL’s most infamous tirades.

In 1988, Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld called Koharski a “fat pig” and told him to “Have another doughnut.”