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Restaurant manager lets Edmonton Oilers out of penalty box in bill dispute

CALGARY - The manager of an upscale Calgary restaurant has reached an agreement with Edmonton Oilers players after a dispute over a nearly $17,000 tab they rang up at a New Year's Eve party.

Maurizio Terrigno refused to elaborate Sunday on just what the deal entails and wouldn't even say whether the agreement has been resolved to his satisfaction.

The restaurant manager, who publicly vented his fury just days ago, is now reluctant to discuss the end result of his beef over unpaid portions of the restaurant bill. "I can't," Terrigno said, but wouldn't explain further.

Instead, he referred any further inquiries to the Edmonton Oilers.

Team officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

After going public with his complaint, Terrigno said that team members "went ballistic" when they got the final bill for a night out with their guests and would only pay just over $12,000 on the nearly $17,000 worth of food and alcohol charges.

He said the bar tab alone for the group of about 50 people was around $8,000. Part of the dispute arose when players argued they should pay by the bottle, instead of by the glass, for dozens of shooters purchased during the bash. Terrigno said they also ordered expensive wine and champagne.

Team spokesman, Allan Watt, has previously said that when the bill arrived, players thought it was "outrageous" and complained. He said restaurant staff reduced it by about $7,000 and team members paid the amended amount, and left a $1,900 tip.

The Edmonton Oilers had lost by a score of 2-1 earlier in the night against the Calgary Flames.

There's no doubt that the off ice verbal brawl has garnered a lot of attention for his family's restaurant, Osteria de Medici, which has played host to such upper-crust guests as former U.S. president, George W. Bush.

" I have 113 emails I'd rather not reply to and my voice mail is full," Terrigno said.

He said he wasn't surprised that the bill dispute had garnered international attention, with fans buzzing on websites, blogs, and team message boards.

"Good things happen to good people," he said.

While he repeatedly refused to divulge any details of the agreement, Terrigno said that without all the media attention, he doubts whether the dispute would have been resolved at all.

Many hockey fans writing on an Edmonton Oilers team message board continued to defend the players, saying they don't think the figures Terrigno talked about add up. Others accused him of trying to get publicity for his restaurant in going public with his complaint.

Others have said hockey players, many of whom are paid very well for what they do, should have paid the full cost of their night on the town.

-By Lisa Arrowsmith in Edmonton



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