It turns out Peter Metsala didn’t have to sneak his way into a single game at the world hockey championship.
Metsala, a Finnish hockey fan, spent the past week in Halifax telling anyone who would listen he was in town on a bet. He had to travel to Canada, stay in a hotel, and sneak into world hockey games — including Sunday’s gold-medal final in Quebec City — without spending any of his own money.
But an event official told Metro Halifax yesterday Metsala is an accredited guest of the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation and has a tournament pass that grants him free access to every game.
“It was a prank he pulled to get some media attention,” event co-ordinator Leroy McKinnon said, after ensuring Metsala hadn’t breached security. “He was free to walk through our checkpoints just by showing his badge. He was legit.”
Metsala talked to The Chronicle Herald and Q104 this week, saying he is a television sports journalist and that he had stolen an official’s accreditation to get into one game.
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The Finnish marketing agency Barabra Ltd., which maintains Metsala’s website at petefinaaliin.fi, told Metro Halifax yesterday Metsala is a Helsinki bartender whose trip to the Worlds is sponsored by a Finnish beer company.
Metsala, who documented his journey on YouTube and on his website’s blog, was found at the Metro Centre during Wednesday’s quarter-final between Finland and the U.S., sitting comfortably in reserved seating with his accreditation.
When approached by Metro Halifax with questions about the story he had told local media, Metsala appeared taken aback and said someone impersonated him.
“It’s not me,” he said repeatedly. “Someone used my name. I haven’t done anything. It’s not me.”
Metsala, however, is clearly pictured in the Herald and on his blog. A video of his interview with local media also appears on YouTube.
When asked for an explanation, Metsala eventually walked away, saying, “I’m going to take a leak.”