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'Unruly' Russians return to airport


A member of Team Russia displays his gold medal for cameras this morning at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

10:42 a.m.: Watch Team Russia's departure from Buffalo in this video:

8:30 a.m.: Buffalo's extended guests have checked in and passed through security. Barring any complications at the gate, the gold medal winners should soon be on their way home to Moscow via New York City and Atlanta. Asked how the check-in process went today, a Delta Airlines official said, "Much better than yesterday." She said the players were polite and organized. She estimated the team is carrying 5,000 pounds of luggage.


Delta Airlines officials estimated the team of 30 players and coaches is carrying 5,000 pounds of luggage.

CHEEKTOWAGA -- Team Russia is again attempting to leave Buffalo this morning after its gold medal victory in the World Junior Championship.

The team left the Days Hotel on Genesee Street this morning around 7 a.m. with an NFTA police escort and is now gathered in the departures area of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport signing autographs and mugging for the cameras.

Their luggage -- including many hockey gear bags -- is strewn about the floor here as the team of 30 players and coaches prepares to leave on two separate flights.

The team was turned away Thursday from its Delta Airlines flight after airline officials claimed players were "unruly." There have also been allegations that the team was drinking heavily Wednesday night following its victory. But the team has denied the allegations.

Team media officer Mikhail Zislis thanked his hosts for their hospitality.

Asked if he had any parting words for his American hosts, Zislis told Live, "Just support hockey as best you can."

Check back later for video and more updates.

--Joseph Popiolkowski

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