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Video: NHL Player Attacks Fan

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I enjoy a good hockey fight (check out my post on the “Punch-Up In Piestany”). I played the game growing up and I know that fighting is more than necessary.

I’m cool with altercations as long as they happen on the ice. When fans get in the mix…I’m not OK with that. Check out what happened last night in a game between the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild (you can skip ahead to the :58 second mark if you want to):

That’s just dumb! The player who attacks the fan is Vancouver’s Rick Rypien. He’s your classic troublemaker. He’s played in three games this year and he already has 19 PIMs. Now, he’s suspended indefinitely by the NHL (and rightfully so).

There’s actually a writer for a Canadian website that claims people are making too big of a deal about this. He argues that Rypien had every right to shove the fan. That’s stupid if you ask me. If the fan threw something at Rypien or tried to grab him, then I say go ahead and defend yourself. From what I see on the video though, Rypien was unprovoked. He shouldn’t be in the NHL if he can’t handle hecklers.

He also shouldn’t get sued. That’s where it sounds like this is heading. James Engquist, the fan who was grabbed by Rypien, told the Minneapolis Star Tribunethat he is “definitely seeking legal representation.” He claims he was assaulted. While Rypien was completely out of line, Engquist was not assaulted. The player grabbed him…he didn’t punch him. This whole situation is ugly.

It’s definitely not the Malice in the Palace, this minor league hockey brawl with fans, or this mess at a Canadian Junior Football League game (you really have to watch these links), but it’s another incident that gives the NHL a black eye that it doesn’t need.

I’d love to know what you think about the situation. You can leave a comment below, get in touch with me on Twitter @lewissports, connect with me on Facebook, or email me at tim@timlewissports.com.

Again, I’ll add more to this post later.

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