Gary McLachlan's beef hurling days at the RBC Center are over. , Staff Writer
The Edmonton morning radio show host threw a chuck steak onto the ice moments before the opening faceoff of Monday's playoff game between the Carolina Hurricanes and his beloved Oilers. The Alberta beef, bought locally, was thin and flimsy, but still meaty enough, McLachlan said, to continue a playoff tradition that has brought the team luck.
Unfortunately for McLachlan, the police officers who spotted the airborne meat weren't so superstitious. He was ejected from the game, cited for a misdemeanor and banned from the RBC Center.
"I don't want to take any chances now, I've done my part," McLachlan said, vowing to keep the steak to himself.
It turns out that it's against state law to "throw, drop, release, discharge, expose or place" an object that could cause injury or damage equipment in an area where a sporting event is occurring. Violating the class three misdemeanor can result in a fine.
"If an officer sees someone throwing something on the ice they're going to cite the person," said police spokesman Jim Sughrue.
McLachlan and Chris Scheetz, a fellow Edmonton DJ, started hurling beef when the Oilers opened the playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings in April.
As the duo flew to Detroit, where fans have chucked dead octopi on the ice for 50 years, a fellow traveler suggested they throw Alberta beef onto the ice. After all, the province's cattle industry (motto: "If it ain't Alberta, it ain't beef") produces 60 percent of Canada's hamburger and steak.
McLachlan and Scheetz went on to heave raw meat in Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim and at home, where other Oilers fans now toss beef, too.
In Raleigh, the duo thought they might be escorted outside. But arrested? That was a first.
"Other than fun parties, I've never had handcuffs on," McLachlan said.
The DJs often buy the beef on the road and smuggle it past guards, or metal detectors, in their pockets, as McLachlan did Monday.
They throw the meat so it smacks the ice on "thee" -- the final word of the Canadian national anthem. Security officers sometimes escort the beef hurler outside, forcing him to miss watching the beloved Oilers.
But, as McLachlan points out, the beef is good mojo. With it on the ice, the Oilers have posted an 11-2 record (including Monday's loss to the Canes). Without beef, they're 1-4.
After his citation, listeners to 92.5 JOE FM, via e-mails, phone calls and an online poll, made their wishes clear: The beef must fly.
"They're saying, 'You've got to get the beef on the ice,' " McLachlan said. "And, I'm saying 'No. It's somebody else's turn this time.' "