Meet Mitchell Skiba: The kid who almost decapitated himself

Mitchell Skiba’s epic fail after being kicked out of a game went viral this week and he appears to be taking it in stride. He’s been chirped at school, on-line and at his part-time job, but said he’s just, “trying to have fun with it.” Skiba returns to the ice Saturday night.

As the YouTube views of his epic fail approach the one million mark, Mitchell Skiba of the Alpena Flyers wants you to know he’s responsible for another pretty cool video. From the same game, no less. It hasn’t gone viral the way his near decapitation has, but hey, it’s a pretty wicked hit.

There’s a good chance by now you’ve seen the video of Skiba (pronounced SKEE-bah) from last Sunday. After being ejected from a Midwest (Mich.) Jr. A League game against the MC Monarchs for spearing, Skiba feels shame. As he leaves the ice, he smashes his stick against the boards and it wedges itself against the other side of the door just before Skiba runs into his stick neck-first. In case you haven’t, here it is:

That happened in the third period of the game, but in the second period, Skiba laid a hit on an opponent that would have made Scott Stevens proud. Here’s the video of that one:

The views of the near decapitation are outperforming the open-ice hit at a ratio of about 10:1 at last check. After all, you see good hits all the time. But watching a kid clothesline himself with his own stick, how often do you get everything conspiring together to give you that kind of entertainment?

“I had no clue it was going to go viral,” said Skiba, a 20-year-old defenseman for the Flyers. “I was pretty embarrassed at first, but I’m kind of laughing at it now. I was pretty pi—ed off at the refs and I thought it was a bad call. I did what most hockey players would do and hit the glass and my stick turned sideways. It caught me totally by surprise and I didn’t know what hit me. And as soon as I got up, I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.”

Skiba hasn’t been able to duck the incident in his real life, though. Most of the students at the Alpena Community College where he’s enrolled in the business program know who he is now. And when he showed up for his part-time job at a local car dealership, his colleagues gave him a standing ovation.

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But other than that and the fact his phone blew up with interview requests, things aren’t that much different. This weekend, after he serves the one-game suspension for the spearing penalty, he’ll resume his junior career Saturday night when his team plays on the road against the Traverse City Hounds.

“I’ve had people in my classes looking at me funny and teachers calling me out,” Skiba said. “I’ve already seen other teams tweeting at me and posting the video. I’ve had a few scuffles this season and I’m pretty sure it will happen in our next game after this video.”

Yes, Skiba has been involved in a few “scuffles,” as evidenced by the fact that he sits fourth in the league in penalty minutes with 103 in 18 games. But he also has three goals and 12 points in those games and, as evidenced by his big hit caught on video, plays a pretty robust game.

“I’m known for talking a lot of sh–,” Skiba said. “I’m kind of known for that. I’m more of and enforcer than a goal scorer. I look for big hits to get the team fired up.”

Skiba’s near-decapitation came a little too late in the game, since he received his penalty with about two minutes left in a 7-3 loss. He said next time he gets ejected from a game, he doesn’t plan on becoming a mini-celebrity.

“I’ll probably skate off slowly, maybe leave my stick in the box,” Skiba said. “I can’t really put it behind me now because everybody knows about it. So I guess I’m just trying to have fun with it.”