Sixers Owner’s Helicopter Forces Cancelation of Youth Soccer Game
Deadspin has a fun story today concerning Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris. The Penn grad also owns the New Jersey Devils. A recent trip to a game at the team’s home arena, the Prudential Center, caused the cancelation of a local youth soccer game.
Huh? Here’s what happened: Several rich people with ties to Newark have an agreement with respected Catholic prep school/basketball and soccer star pipeline St. Benedict’s Prep. When these businessmen need it, the school allows them to use its soccer field as a helipad. St. Benedict’s said a few people take advantage of the school’s generosity, but primarily Harris.
The incident on Sunday, November 8th, was a result of miscommunication. The helicopter arrived early, while Harris was still at the Prudential Center watching the Devils. But the pilot, from private helicopter operator Heliflite, had to wait there until he arrived. As a result, the game had to be canceled.
“A security detail emerged from the helicopter and informed the boys and their coaches that NJ Jersey Devils owner, Josh Harris, had instructed them to land on the field and wait for him to return from the Prudential Center where the Devils were playing,” a parent wrote Deadspin. “The boys and their families waited in the cold until finally it became clear that Harris was running late and no one knew when he might return to pick up his ride. Eventually, the coaches decided to call the boys’ game and everyone went home disappointed, frustrated and annoyed.”
Josh Harris later released a statement through the Devils:
“I sincerely apologize to the kids and their coaches and families for the cancelation of their soccer game in Newark on Sunday night. As a Dad, who has spent hundreds of hours watching my kids play sports, I can understand the frustration, and for that, I am truly sorry. Working with St. Benedict’s, we have fixed the process to prevent any future issues. While I can’t take back what happened, I hope the coaches, the teams and their families would be open to being my guest at an upcoming Devils’ game, and I will be extending an invitation.”
So… it’s all going to work out. The whole thing was a big mixup, and not the fault of Harris. Still, we learned this information: The owner of the Sixers can use the field of one of the best high school soccer programs in the country for a helipad when he wants to.