Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Stay out of the hockey rink, coppers!
Do police and prosecutors in Quebec really have that much time on their hands?
We knew the province had one of the lowest crime rates in the country. So perhaps that explains why an investigation has been launched into a wild hockey brawl involving the son of NHL goaltending legend Patrick Roy. (Read story HERE
)In case you've just crawled out of a cave, here's the Reader's Digest version of what happened (followed by my two cents)The Chicoutimi Sagueneens were laying a pretty good butt-kicking on their rivals, the Quebec Remparts, in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game Saturday night.Not surprisingly, things started to get a little squirrely on the ice. That's bound to happen when you have a bunch of hormonally-charged young men and a lopsided score (7-1 at the time).The pushing and shoving quickly escalated into a full-scale brawl.Remparts goalie Jonathan Roy - no doubt nursing a case of sunburn on the back of his neck from the red goal light being turned on so much - skated the full length of the ice to take on the Sagueneens goalie.One minor problem - Bobby Nadeau didn't want to dance.Roy didn't seem to care, unleashing a flurry of punches on the clearly shocked Nadeau. He knocked him to the ice, continued to pound away - then gave Chicoutimi fans the "one-fingered salute" as he left the ice.The QMJHL investigated the incident - which made sports highlights across North America - and dished out some justice.Jonathan Roy was suspended for seven games.
His famous father - who coaches the Remparts - was handed a five-game ban for failing to control his players, especially his son. There were suggestions Roy encouraged his boy to go after Nadeau, a claim he denies. Patrick Roy has also apologized for his conduct.Now that should have been the end of what was a fairly ugly incident.Yet apparently this case is far from over. Police and prosecutors are reviewing the tapes and considering criminal charges.I don't understand this.Let me be clear - I don't condone what happened here for a minute. It was stupid. It was senseless. And it has no place in sport.But I must question why authorities can't allow the QMJHL to police itself, as has already been done.Jonathan Roy is a lot of things for doing what he did - words like gutless and cowardly come to mind - but is he a criminal?That's not to say there aren't times when outside investigations aren't warranted.Incidents like the vicious, pre-meditated Todd Bertuzzi attack on Steve Moore, which ended the young player's career and saw Bertuzzi charged with assault, can't be overlooked.Nor can incidents when sports clearly can't police themselves - such as the steroid epidemic we now see in baseball that has caught the attention of congress.But if we're now going to start investigating every time an emotional hockey game or other sporting event boils over, where does it end?
I think former NHL goaltender Kelly Hrudey, now an analyst for Hockey Night In Canada, is bang-on with his take. Hrudey says the incident likely would not have received much attention had it not involved Roy, a fiery personality who is also one of the greatest goalies in NHL history.“I feel the whole incident has been overblown,” Hrudey said. “It’s a front page story in Western Canada and it’s not big news in any sense. It’s ridiculous.”Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below. You can also click HERE to cast your vote in my latest Jury Poll question.