CALGARY - The manager of an upscale Calgary restaurant is furious, claiming that Edmonton Oilers players refused to cover the full cost of a nearly $17,000 tab during a New Year's Eve night out for team members.
Maurizio Terrigno of Osteria de Medici, the restaurant where former U.S. president George W. Bush dined when he was in Calgary last year, said the team and staff owed $16,796.39 but wanted a break on the bill and paid only $12,385.45.
Terrigno said about half of the bill was for alcohol totalling $8,248, including dozens of shots of tequila and bottles of expensive wine and $1,000 champagne.
"These guys came in, they enjoyed our hospitality and when the bill came ... they went ballistic to the point where they started threatening, denigrating my staff, saying, `We're the Edmonton Oilers, we expect a 50 per cent discount,' " said Terrigno.
Terrigno said 45 people ordered off the menu and their total bill came to $14,234.23, including $677.98 for GST. The restaurant usually adds an automatic 18 per cent gratuity for a large group, which would bring the total to $16,796.39.
The Oilers had lost by a score of 2-1 earlier in the night against the Calgary Flames.
Oilers spokesman Allan Watt said the restaurant was recommended by some Calgary friends of the players and they had a prearranged meal and menu.
"They received the bill which they felt was outrageous," said Watt.
"They inquired about it and they were unhappy about it and were unhappy with some of the charges. The restaurant adjusted it by $7,000."
Watt said the players paid the adjusted bill and added a $1,900 tip and left the restaurant.
Terrigno said the group, which included team captain Ethan Moreau, attempted to negotiate a discount on the bill.
He said the players argued they should pay by the bottle for dozens of shooters purchased during the bash, but the restaurant charged them for each one individually.
The restaurant tried to charge for a bottle of an imported expensive brandy after one of the players took a swig straight from it.
"They refused to pay for the whole bottle because they didn't consume the whole bottle," said Terrigno.
He said there's no way the restaurant will serve other clients from the same bottle.
Terrigno said at one point he threatened to phone police.
"It's the first time during the 37 years of business have I ever experienced something like this," he said. "What's more upsetting is we know who they are."
Terrigno said because he was infuriated by what happened he plans on donating the money the players paid the restaurant to charity.