Monday, January 30, 2012
On this date in 2009, the Las Vegas Wranglers continued a minor league tradition of unusual promotions when they held Rod Blagojevich Prision Uniform Night to have some fun at the expense of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was in hot water after being accused of selling President Barack Obama's vacated state senate seat.
Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama
The promotion called for the Wranglers to wear old-time prison uniforms of black and white stripes, while their opponents, the Bakersfield Condors, would wear modern "Department of Corrections" orange jumpsuit inspired prisoner uniforms. Additionally, the referees were outfitted with prison guard uniforms, complete with neckties, while the goal judges wore a courtroom judge's powdered wig.
The stunt earned the Wranglers the anticipated publicity, as reports of the promotion were repeated all over the internet's various hockey media outlets and blogs in addition to commentary on any number of chat forums.
For the record, Bakersfield won the game by a score of 3-1 in front of 6,327 fans.
After being arrested on corruption charges, Blagojevich was indicted by a federal grand jury in April of 2008. By January of 2009 he was impeached as Governor by votes of 114-1 in the state house and 59-0 in the senate, with the only vote in his defense coming thanks to his wife's sister!
What made Blagojevich ripe for having fun poked at by the Wranglers was his slick appearance and often poor judgment when handling his legal situation, as he did not shy away from publicity, regardless of how unseemly it was for a once high ranking public official, combined with his cocky, if not arrogant, attitude during his public interviews regarding his legal troubles, which frequently resulted in controversial and regrettable statements.
Unable to leave the country while facing trial, his wife Patti Blagojevich appeared on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!", during which she ate a tarantula, while Blagojevich himself appeared on "The Celebrity Apprentice", during which he was fired by Donald Trump during the season's fourth of 11 episodes due to being accused of poor quality leadership who lacked in communication and technology skills. He also made an appearance at a comic book convention, charging $50 for an autograph and $80 for a photo.
He was convicted of lying to the FBI on August 17, 2010, while the other 23 counts all resulted in a hung jury. A retrial was sought on the 23 mistrial counts, and on June 27, 2011 Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 out of the 20 charges he was retried on. He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on December 7, 2011, and will have to serve a minimum of 12 of those years once he reports to prison in March of 2012.
Today's featured jersey is a 2008-09 Las Vegas Wranglers "Rod Blagojevich" Tyler Mosienko jersey. Mosienko led the Wranglers in scoring that season with 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points playing in just 50 of the Wranglers 73 games. One of his goals was the only goal the Wranglers scored on Rod Blagojevich Night. Mosienko, grandson of record holding Hall of Famer Bill Mosienko, played junior hockey for five seasons for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL before joining the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL. He joined Las Vegas in 2006-07 for the first of three seasons. During his time with Las Vegas he also made appearances with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7 games), Manchester Monarchs (9) and Rockford Ice Hogs (15) of the AHL over those two seasons.
He spent the 2009-10 season in the German DEL with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers before splitting his 2010-11 season between Las Vegas (43 games) and the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL (22 games). He is currently the all-time franchise leading scorer with 73 goals and 113 assists for 206 points in 228 games.
Today's video segment are clips from the before and then during game, including Mosienko's goal, the only one scored by the Wranglers that night.
Finally, Blagojevich appearing on Celebrity Apprentice.