Saturday, November 13, 2010

11-13-10: "Last Days of the Coliseum" and a Peter Worrell Fight

When I saw the piece in the New Haven Independent about the program, I jumped on the online AT&T DVR site (plug not intended) to record "Last Days of the Coliseum" on Connecticut Public Television.

The New Haven Coliseum was a building built with great promise but poor luck and planning. The idea was good: build an entertainment hub in downtown New Haven by the intersection of I-91 and I-95 for people all over the state to come watch great concerts, sporting events, and various forms of entertainment.

The problems began right from the start. The original plans were too expensive, and shortcuts were necessary to make it work. The location was too small to allow for proper outdoor parking, so they put the parking garage above the arena. Then, there was the corrosion. Salt from the roads was picked up by cars and brought into the parking structure, which over time slowly corroded the metal structure. The building opened in 1970 and by 1980 pieces of concrete were breaking off onto the street below.

I drove by the old Coliseum site last night after dropping the lady off for a wedding rehearsal downtown. I didn't visit New Haven all that often growing up. We moved here in early 1996 and were already a full-on hockey family. I played at the Coliseum several times, which was always a blast. It was a BIG place - cavernous, but it always felt a little run down. The locker rooms we used were actually just dressing rooms. The ice was never great. But it was a fun time. The current site is a parking lot.

Though The Beast (AHL team) were only around for two seasons, my dad took me to a bunch of games. One player we loved to see was Peter Worrell. Worrell was a fighter, through and through. He played one full season for the Beast before being called up to the parent club Florida Panthers. There was a game I distinctly remember attending where Worrell got in a great fight. I don't remember who they played, but it was a great fight. Realizing that the Internet is a wonderful, wonderful place, I did some research to determine what game that was.

I got further than I expected, but am still not 100% sure. I know Worrell played for the Beast in both seasons of the team's existence (1997-1998 and 1998-1999). However, he got in a lot of fights. In the 1997-1998 season, in which he played in 50 games, he accrued 309 penalty minutes. I believe the fight I remember resulted in a game misconduct (as I remember Worrell being ejected and trying to come BACK into the game after undressing in the locker room). Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find official score sheets so far.

I did find a great website called, which tracks and rates hockey fights. All of Worrell's fights are logged on there. The site tracks date, opponent, size advantage, and whether or not he won the fight. Peter Worrell got in 22 fights during the 1997-1998 season (I don't think the game in question was during the 1998-1999 season), 10 of which were at home games.

With that site, I've narrowed down, based on fights Worrell had during home games, the possible dates for the game in question:

10/26/1997 against Georges Laraque

12/7/1997 (three fights)

12/28/1997 against Paul Ferone

The one issue with 12/7/1997 being the game is that it was on a Sunday. We didn't go to many Sunday games. However, further research is required.

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