Rats injured in bus crash UPDATE 3
In the wake of this morning's crash involving the River Rats team bus, Friday's scheduled home game at the former Knickerbocker Arena is in doubt.
Albany president and CEO Garen Szablewski said that the health of the players and the condition of the equipment damaged in the early-morning accident mean the game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers will likely be postponed.
"I don't know for sure, but most likely we'll have to postpone the game tomorrow," Szablewski said. "We've still got to wait and see. I've got a call into (head coach) Jeff Daniels to get an assessment from him on the health of the players, as well as the availability of equipment and what not. There's a good chance we'll end up having to postpone tomorrow's game, and then we'll have to figure out about Sunday."
The Rats are scheduled to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sunday afternoon at 5.
"There are two significant issues," Szablewski said. "One is the players health and well-being and their ability to play. To some degree, that can be addressed if we have to be forced to play with fewer players than we normally would. It's certainly a significant issue.
"Second, we don't know all the details on the condition of the equipment. (Albany equipment manager) Jason McGrath tells me it appears that we pretty much lost all of our gear. In saying 'lost,' we don't mean misplaced but that it was part of the wreckage and can't be salvaged. We'll have to scramble and see where we can get appropriate pads and skates and helmets and that kind of stuff and make that part of the final decision.
"Most likely, we won't be able to put all that into place by tomorrow night. If at all possible, we are going to try to play the game on Sunday."
Szablewski said he spoke with AHL vice president Jim Mill this morning, about the players and the upcoming games.
"His first thought was to make sure the players are being taken care of," he said. "Once we know that situation, we'll deal with the game."
The River Rats team and staff remains at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. Szablewski said a bus has already arrived at the facility to bring them home, but had yet to leave.
Szablewski said it has been a difficult day for the front office staff.
"No question everybody here is somewhat shaken up and trying their best to go about the daily routine, but, obviously, this is overshadowing everything else right now," he said. "We've never had anything like this happen, for sure. We've had a couple of breakdowns and mechanical issues and things like that, but never anything even approaching this."