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.