The Coventry Blaze and Cardiff Devils of the British Elite Ice Hockey League played a contentious Challenge Cup game on Sunday evening that saw several controversial penalties called -- and it ended with both teams getting physical after the postgame handshakes. So yeah, quite the rivalry.
But what's led to a League investigation of the postgame pleasantries is this incident between a Cardiff fan and a Coventry player:
As the video shows, Blaze defenseman Benn Olson — formerly of the Albany River Rats, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Ontario Reign of the ECHL — skated over after a postgame fight and was drawn into an altercation with a fan. Blaze defenseman Mike Egener skated in to make the save, sparking a wild scene.
According to the BBC, South Wales police were called by the fan to claim he had been assaulted by a player, but the officers decided that the fan had "instigated the altercation" and was egged on by friends to get into the brawl.
South Wales Police confirmed they were called to the Cardiff Devils game by a spectator who complained about being assaulted by a player. The force spokeswoman said further questioning by officers revealed the complainant had instigated the altercation and he was given advice about his behaviour.
Neither the player concerned nor the club wanted to take the matter further so the incident has been closed, she added.
But the Devils did take some action of their own after the incident: They've banned the spectator from attending any Cardiff games for the remainder of the season.
Here is a statement from the Devils posted to their website on Monday:
Following the incidents, which occurred after the Challenge Cup match on Sunday evening, the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey Club can confirm that the supporter involved in the confrontation with a Coventry Blaze player has been banned from all Cardiff Devils games for the remainder of this season.
After a heated match, the rivalry between the two teams continued after the post-match handshakes and saw members of both teams continue to confront each other.
Penalties awarded during the match fuelled the heated exchanges between the teams. That said, the club will accept any action deemed appropriate by the Elite League.
In a separate incident, a Cardiff Devils supporter approached Coventry Blaze player, Benn Olson, and confronted him, resulting in an exchange. South Wales Police were called to the scene, and have confirmed that after speaking to several independent witnesses and reviewing footage of the incident no further action will be taken.
The Cardiff Devils Club has been in touch with the supporter involved to inform him of his ban. The individual has apologised for his actions and expressed disappointment and remorse.
The club is currently conducting an investigation in association with all relevant parties involved, and will be putting in place additional measures to mitigate the risk of similar incidents occurring again in the future.
Here's a longer video of the line brawl. Check out Olson blowing kisses to the crowd. Classic:
The Elite League is investigating the incident, with a spokesman saying: "Ice hockey is a family sport and it is important we uphold that good reputation."
s/t our new Finnish hockey friend Janne Virtanen.
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