The city's female professional football team is gearing up for a big playoff game in Canada this weekend, but some players and coaches may not be able to take the field. NY1's Lori Chung filed the following report.
The New York Sharks practice by twilight, their upcoming playoff game against the Montreal Blitz just days away.
They're not worried about their opponent. But facing Canada's border patrol again has them anxious.
"I'm nervous," said Daisy McCloud, a linebacker for the Sharks. "I don't like being away from my team."
McCloud says that's what happened earlier this month. She and four other members of the team were refused entry to Canada when the Sharks went up against the Blitz at the end of the season.
"They had us all get out of the bus. They took us all in at the same time. They decided to do things differently, took everyone's passport," McCloud said.
Agents refused those with crimes and infractions on their records. McCloud says she was flagged because of a charge from 2001.
"My particular charge that kept me from getting in was giving a false name to a law enforcement officer," she said.
The Sharks' head coach Reggie Wilson was also stranded at the border when the team had to leave their members behind to make the game.
"Looks like we're not going over. Let's get the bus going to get the team to Montreal because that's what's most important right now," Wilson said. "It was a horrible experience."
It was made worse when Wilson says the border patrol supervisor said, "If we were an NFL team, he would kind of overlook that and let us through because we would add revenue to Canada."
The Sharks are a pro team. Owner Andra Douglas says the women's league deserves respect.
"I'm sure the NFL does get in a lot easier than we did. And it's just kind of discouraging because, no, we may not bring commerce to Canada, but we still do a lot," Douglas said.
The Sharks face a do-or-die playoff game. The team says they could do without the distraction but will definitely do their best.
"We'll make it through this as a team," McCloud said. "We always do."
NY1 is told two of the women denied entry had DUIs on their records. Others had simple traffic infractions.
A representative from the Canadian consulate says criminality is one of many reasons that can be used to deny admission to the country.