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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vancouver isn't so bad, after all

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VANCOUVER -- Days after saying he was done defending his hometown following an altercation at a nightclub, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic says he's still "proud" to be from Vancouver.

Lucic claims he was punched twice Saturday night after the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Bruins 6-2 in Boston's first visit to Rogers Arena since the club's victory in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

A video released on the Internet shows Lucic in an altercation on a street with an unknown person in front of Vancouver police. No punches are thrown in the video that has since gone viral.

"I have no reason left to try and defend my city, and the people of my city," Lucic told reporters in Boston on Monday. "Other than being at Rogers Arena, no one will ever see me in downtown Vancouver ever again."

Lucic, who starred for the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants before making the jump to the NHL, backtracked somewhat Wednesday in a statement released through the Bruins.

"As I have had more time to think I want to make it clear that regardless of what has happened, I am still -- and always will be -- proud to be from (Vancouver). It is home," the statement read. "While the actions of a few individuals have deeply upset me and will impact the time I spend downtown going forward, I will not let those incidents diminish the love and pride I have for the city as a whole."

Lucic told reporters in Boston the incident took place after the game and he was punched once inside the club and once outside.

"It's something that happened late Saturday night and it's something I'm not proud of, but it was part of an unprovoked attack," Lucic said Monday. "I was punched in the face on two separate occasions. From this point forward, I'm just exploring to pursue this in a legal manner."

Lucic's statement Wednesday made no mention of legal action and added he would not be discussing the incident any further.

Saturday's alleged scuffle is not the first time the 6-3, 235-pound Lucic has had problems in Vancouver. A Serbian Orthodox church in nearby Burnaby connected to Lucic's family was vandalized last year and the 25-year-old has also said fans at Rogers Arena have harassed his grandparents during games.

The Bruins and Canucks have had an antagonistic relationship since their testy seven-game final.

During Saturday's game, Bruins forward Brad Marchand mocked the Canucks bench by pretending to kiss his championship ring before raising an imaginary Cup.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 19, 2013 D5

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