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November 11, 2015

Youth soccer game cancelled because of Sixers owner's helicopter

Deadspin: Aircraft was sitting on Newark field when match was scheduled

Sixers owner Joshua Harris sent two youth soccer teams in Newark home Sunday when his helicopter landed on their field, according to Deadspin.

The website reports that Harris, who is also owner of the New Jersey Devils, has an agreement with Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark to land at the school's field when he flies in an out for games. The field is just minutes from the Devils' home arena, the Prudential Center.

Yet there was reportedly a misccomunication between the helicopter service and the school's facilities department Sunday night, and the helicopter just sat there as two U-13 teams were about to play their scheduled game. A parent from the game had harsh words for Harris, per Deadspin:

A security detail emerged from the helicopter and informed the boys and their coaches that NJ Jersey Devils owner, Josh Harris, had instructed them to land on the field and wait for him to return from the Prudential Center where the Devils were playing. The boys and their families waited in the cold until finally it became clear that Harris was running late and no one knew when he might return to pick up his ride. Eventually, the coaches decided to call the boys’ game and everyone went home disappointed, frustrated and annoyed. I am not sure when or if Harris ever showed up to remove his helicopter from the field, but I hope that he had a great night. There are a number of 12 year olds and youth soccer fans who did not — because of Harris’s selfish behavior.  []

Deadspin reports that the helicopter company didn't contact the school and Harris was still at the Prudential Center when the game was supposed to start. Harris issued an apology after the Deadspin article, telling the website that he "sincerely" aplogized, had worked out the issue with the school and offered both teams' players and parents to come to a Devils game as guests.

While it's never fun when a bunch of young athletes get the short stick because of a billionaire's tardiness, it really is too bad this didn't happen in Philly. Howard Eskin's Twitter would have been a must-read with "LAND THE PLANE" replaced with "LAND THE COPTER" in reference to the Sixers' rebuilding process:

As Crossing Broad points out, though, the Sixers plan to add a helipad to their new training facility in Camden, so that might not be an issue.