Philly fans trash Canadian's car

PHILADELPHIA -- This, perhaps, was not the best way to treat a visitor.

When veteran Montreal hockey writer Pat Hickey went out to his car after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night, he found that fans had covered his car with trash, slashed one of the tires and stolen his Quebec license plates.

Curiously, they also ripped a bug guard off the front of the car, a 1999 Honda Accord with about 351,000 miles on it.

"Obviously it was a bit disturbing," Hickey told ESPN.com Tuesday morning, hours before the Flyers and Canadiens face off in Game 2 of the series. The Flyers lead the series 1-0 after crushing the Canadiens 6-0.

Hickey, one of the deans of Canadian sportswriting, has been covering hockey and baseball in Philadelphia for more than 20 years, and said he's never had any problems before.

"I'm a little surprised. A little disappointed," he said.

Hickey, 66, spent most of Monday trying to find a police station to file a report that he hopes will allow him to re-enter Canada on Wednesday, sans license plates.

"The police officer who filed my accident report is a Flyers season-ticket holder," Hickey told AOL Fanhouse. "He was very nice about the whole thing, and apologized on behalf of the city and the fanbase. He knows it wasn't a coincidence the car with the Quebec plates was the only one in the parking lot with crushed beer cans all over it."

His saga has made the rounds, and even Canadiens coach Jacques Martin had a little fun at Hickey's expense.

"On his way to the podium today for the press conference," Hickey wrote in one of his stories for the Montreal Gazette, "Jacques Martin said, 'Hey Pat, you got a car I can borrow?' Who said the coach doesn't have a sense of humor?"

The Flyers apparently have an area where media members may park their cars, but it is available only to those who work in the Philadelphia area.

"I got out [of the Center] around 11:45 p.m.," Hickey told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I was parked fairly far away. As I got close, there were cans of beer and empty soda cups all over the hood and trunk. I realized the back tire was flat, and I got a sinking feeling."

Hickey has chosen to be mostly magnanimous in his view of Flyers fans.

Since the incident, Hickey has received about 150 e-mails, and they're running about 3-to-1 on the apologetic side. He's been invited to dinner, and some fans have asked him to join them for tailgating prior to Tuesday night's Game 2.

"I've seen bad behavior in every city." he told the Inquirer. "We already had one riot in Montreal during the playoffs. It's unfortunate. Some people use being fans as an excuse for bad behavior."

Hickey wasn't the only Canadian media member to suffer at the hands of Flyers fans.

A mobile broadcast unit belonging to the French arm of CBC was vandalized as they were about to do a live segment. Cords were pulled from the unit and beer poured onto the control panel.

Security has been brought in in an attempt to prevent it from happening again.

Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside was used in this report.