Yowlers announce game postponements, venue changes, injuries
(Transcript from live from emergency press conference, Katella High School gymnasium)
Coach yog: Due to the overwhelming fires currently running through the Yorba Linda, Brea, Anaheim Hills, Corona, and Diamond Bar areas, (http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=yorba+linda&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=news_group&resnum=5&ct=title
) the Yorba Linda Yowlers franchise needs to announce that all further games for the forseeable future for both the Yowlers and the Anaheim Hills Anacondas are being suspended or moved. We hope to be able to play some of our games at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, the Ontario Reign's schedule permitting. We're committed to making up every game on the schedule, but right now we're completely in scramble mode. We've all had a lot bigger things to worry about the last 24 hours or so.
Several of our players stay in the Cascades apartment complex, as its located only about a mile from the Ice Palace on one side and the Anacondas practice facility on the other. As it stands right now, we know that several of them have lost everything. Billy [Sanderson] and Archie [Peterson] are here in the shelter right now - they got cleaned out. We know Chris Ryan is in the hospital right now. We don't know if his apartment was lost, but we know he was assisting the firefighters in the area as the fought the blaze and got a bit of smoke inhalation. He should be okay, but he's going to be out of commission for a while.
Our biggest concern right now is for Branislav Hanhimaki. Many of our players and staff have been up all night, volunteering as citizen firefighters - digging firebreaks, evacuating citizens, doing whatever we can for the community. Branislav has a place on Fairmont and apparently he and a few other residents got caught by a property when a gas main blew. We ask for the prayers of everyone invloved in the MLD as Branislav suffered some pretty good burns up his arms pulling some people off to safety. He and Ethan Fabrell are pretty close, so I know Ethan is down at the Kaiser Lakeview Hospital with him, along with some of our training staff. We're all just trying to manage as best as we can.
Q: Is the Ice Palace still standing? (http://www.ocicepalace.com/servlet/Main
Coach yog: We're pretty sure, although it's pretty deep in the evacuation zone, so we can't get there to be sure. All of Savi Ranch to the southwest has suffered some damage, and of course it's right across the street from Gypsum Canyon.
We don't think the fire got across LaPalma Avenue, but like I said, we just can't even get there to know right now. It's pretty chaotic.
Q: How are are the other players?
Coach yog: Here, I'll let Chad answer this one...
Chad Clemente: Hi, ah, well, I'm not really a current player anymore, but I can tell you we're all pretty tired. My wife and I live in Carbon Canyon, and about 3:00 yesterday we pretty much figured it was time to get out while we still could exit the Western end of the canyon. We packed up the kids, the dog, the photo albums, my memorabilia, and managed to beat the evacuation by a couple of hours. My wife is in Irvine with my in-laws. I couldn't stay put, so I called coach yog and came back up to help out. Me and Shane Myrdahl, Paul Lawton... a few other guys, we've just been helping out as best we can. They keep moving the evacuation points further South and West as the fire has been moving faster than rescue efforts, so we've mostly been breaking down the evac sites and moving them, trying to help people out as best we can. It's tough. My wife was up all night too, just watching the TV. We're pretty sure we've lost everything. The fire swept into the canyon from both ends. It's tough.
Q: Does the team have any other health concerns?
Coach yog: Well, it's pretty obvious the air quality is just abysmal. It's been raining ash for over 24 hours now, and as of right now (10 AM Sunday) they're telling us the fire is 5% contained, but I'd love to know where that f***ing 5% is so I could go there. All our lungs are burning pretty bad. That's nothing to me, but some of these players are going to have to go get some sleep and get themselves ready if we're going to have any chance to pull ourselves together.
We do want to assure our fans, however, that although we're battered, we're still going. The season will continue and we'll keep playing our hearts out the way Yowler fans have come to expect. Thank you everybody.