Volume 93, Issue 85

Friday, March 10, 2000


Don't bank on student loans

Faculty review gets top grades

ASA, MSA protest atrium celebration

Casinos a favourite for Canucks

McSorley opens NHL wounds

Increases make gas unsettling

Taking stock in the time that's left

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

McSorley opens NHL wounds

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

British Columbia premier Ujjal Dosanjh spoke out this week, saying National Hockey League officials are not doing enough to stop violence within the sport.

According to the premier's communications director, Dawn Zadravec, Dosanjh stated on Tuesday that the sport needed to take action to stop the increasing violence.

"They should be changing the rules to ensure there isn't the kind of wrestling matches that take place on the ice," Dosanjh said. "There has been too much violence in hockey and violence in sports is not acceptable."

Dosanjh refused to comment specifically on whether or not Boston Bruins defenceman Marty McSorley should have been charged with assault with a weapon for slashing Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear, however he explained the event had a personal impact on him. "I've stopped watching hockey," he said. "There is much more violence in hockey today than there was 20 years ago."

The penalty landed McSorley a minimum 23 game suspension from the league and he now must anwer to an assault with a weapon charge in B.C.. The infraction carries a maximum 18 month sentence.

Dosanjh said it was high time something was done to curb violent acts such as McSorley's. "I think it's important for us as a society and as Canadians to do something about it."

The provincial government partnered with the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association, several weeks before the incident, to address the problem of violence within the sport through the SportSafe program, according to Ian Waddell, Minister responsible for Sports, Small Business, Tourism and Culture. Public forums around the province had elicited many responses from concerned B.C. citizens, he added.

NHL vice-president of communications, Frank Brown, said the league refused to comment on whether they felt the disciplinary policy had to be reviewed or if the McSorley incident would have an impact on the rules.

According to Brown, earlier this week NHL chief legal officer, Bill Daly, stated the league did not believe Vancouver's Crown Attorney's office should have pressed charges against McSorley. The league was confident they dealt with the issue sufficiently and no further actions were necessary.

Ed Rutushny, professor of sports law at the University of Ottawa, said he believed the incident was beyond the jurisdiction of the NHL and should be dealt with by the courts. "At some point, not charging the player would be a challenge to the integrity of the criminal justice system," he said.

"If one kid stabs another in the school yard, is the principal able to police the incident without outside justice?" Rutushny asked. "Obviously there is a point where the line is crossed."

Although Rutushny said there have been incidents in the past where a player has been criminally charged, he said he did not believe the McSorley case would spark a trend of more arrests within sporting events.

London Knights head coach Gary Agnew said the situation presents a grey area which needed to be reviewed by legal experts. But Agnew added the case against McSorley had its merits.

"Nobody playing the sport should be subject to being hit over the head with a stick," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000