It’s just a game, folks


It’s an im­age that hockey fans in this re­gion may not soon for­get, and it ap­pears as the main photo in this week’s edi­tion of The Com­pass. It shows Glen Legge of Heart’s Con­tent, his fore­head cov­ered in blood, with a dis­tressed look on his face. There are wa­ter marks on his jacket, and mois­ture on his face and hair, pre­sum­ably from the wa­ter bot­tle that had smashed into his fore­head just mo­ments be­fore. In the back­ground, slightly out of fo­cus, is a young boy wear­ing a stock­ing cap. He, too, has an un­cer­tain ex­pres­sion. It’s Legge’s son.

They are amongst a large throng of peo­ple, gath­ered in the con­course of the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium. It’s not the law­less streets of Egypt, but you can be sure there’s a feel­ing of anger, shock and dis­be­lief in the air.

This scene was cap­tured by a Com­pass pho­tog­ra­pher — namely, yours truly — fol­low­ing a fright­en­ing in­ci­dent at the arena in Har­bour Grace on Jan. 29 that had the whole prov­ince talk­ing for sev­eral days. The photo was splashed over news web­sites and on the evening news, and had on­line hockey cha­t­rooms and open line ra­dio shows buzzing.

The wa­ter bot­tle was al­legedly thrown by a mem­ber of the Mount Pearl Blades se­nior hockey team as play­ers left the ice fol­low­ing a loss to the home­town CeeBee Stars. Po­lice later ar­rested the player and he faces a charge of as­sault with a weapon. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing, and po­lice are try­ing to pin­point the iden­tity of a fan who al­legedly threw a soda can that struck a Blades’ player in the head.

Legge ad­mit­ted he was among a large num­ber of fans who were mouthing off to the play­ers. This is a com­mon prac­tice at the arena, made pos­si­ble by the cir­cum­stances un­der which the vis­it­ing teams must en­ter and exit the ice sur­face. Play­ers must walk through the con­course — some 20 feet — with only a dozen or so mem­bers of the Avalon North Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue group form­ing a perime­ter to keep fans at bay.

The play­ers were al­ready charged up, hav­ing lost a cru­cial late-sea­son game to their ri­vals, and emo­tions boiled over off the ice. Words were ex­changed, a player got hit in the head with a soda can, and Legge had his bell rung with a wa­ter bot­tle. Po­lice in­di­cated last week that the soda can was thrown first, but there were con­flict­ing sto­ries from those we spoke to af­ter the in­ci­dent.

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