Canucks investigating reports security didn't intervene in fan fight
Published Tuesday, October 10, 2017 6:46PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 5:28PM PDT
The Vancouver Canucks are investigating reports that the security company it hires to monitor Rogers Arena on game days did not intervene when a fight broke out between fans.
The investigation began after a fan vented his frustration on social media following a fight he witnessed at the team's home opener Saturday.
While the team faced off against the Edmonton Oilers, a group of fans scrapped off the ice in full view of security staff.
Ryan Pineo witnessed the fight and took a photo he later posted on Twitter.
He said he was going to get a drink during an intermission when he saw a man in an Oilers jersey lying on the ground, with a man in a Canucks jersey standing above him.
"One of the guys was booting him as hard as he could in the ribs and in the head," Pineo told CTV Vancouver.
"If somebody gets booted in the head in the right spot it's no different than a bullet. It could kill you."
He took the photo posted to social media as a guard started to get involved, which he said happened only after the men had been fighting for four or five minutes.
CTV News has not obtained any video of the incident showing how long the fight lasted or what happened leading up to the moments shown in Pineo's photo.
Pineo said that, instead of making an effort to break up the fight, all the security guards did in the first few minutes was try to route fans who weren't involved in the fight out of the area.
The witness told two security guards what he'd seen, but that they just looked on and shrugged. Finally another guard did respond, and the fight was broken up.
Pineo said after the pair was separated, the man in the Canucks jersey walked off to get a beer.
"You'd better go follow him and get him," Pineo said he told security.
"And he said, 'That's not part of our job.'"
Pineo said police came at that point and took some people outside, but he didn't know if the man he'd seen walk away ever talked to anyone. He said he felt the security guards should be fired for not stepping in earlier.
Canucks Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns and operates the team and Rogers Arena, is looking into the incident.
"We take incidents like this very seriously and are reviewing it with all security personnel who were present on Saturday night," chief operating officer Jeff Stipec said.
Stipec said the company has a zero-tolerance policy for fighting and other unacceptable behaviour, and that the safety and security of fans is its top priority.
Two days after Stipec's statement, the company told CTV News that two security contractors will no longer be working at Canucks games.
The company the guards work for, Contemporary Services Canada, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
The security guard who intervened in the fight appears to be an employee of Canucks Sports and Entertainment, though a representative said it was hard to tell.
Stipec said all guards hired by the company and through CSC are instructed and trained to intervene immediately when they see a fight or an altercation that may escalate.
He said they also work closely with local police to keep the venue safe.
Vancouver Police Const. Jason Doucette said there were a number of ejections at Saturday's game, and a few reports of fights broken up without police intervention. He said he was not aware of any serious incidents at the home opener, nor did he know of any charges or ongoing investigations stemming from the game.
Doucette said the primary role of police at hockey games is to have a visible presence to keep the peace, and that they assist security if guards are unable to deal with incidents on their own.
"As always, we encourage anyone who feels they have been a victim of a crime to make a report with their local police," he said.
Fans with more information on Saturday's incident are asked to contact the Canucks' Fan Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's David Molko