Tag: London Ontario

Wayne Simmonds

Report: Ontario police might know who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds


In a well-written diatribe, The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont chastised London, Ontario fans for supposedly failing to blow the whistle on whoever threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds.  He ended his mini-rant with some pointed words: “Speaking up won’t guarantee that it will stop. Remaining silent, though, guarantees that it will continue.”

As it turns out, someone spoke up after all – in fact, today’s news is that multiple witnesses provided the same name to authorities. QMI Agency reports that local police attained the name of the person who probably threw the banana peel at Simmonds as he scored a shootout goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 22. Officials admit that charges haven’t been made just yet, although investigations are ongoing.

Police didn’t provide a description of the suspect, which might disappoint Kevin Weekes. Weekes – a former NHL goalie who dealt with a similar incident during a 2002 playoff series in Montreal – said that the likeness of the guilty party* should be “plastered everywhere” to discourage similar behavior via well-deserved humiliation.

It’s probably not within peoples’ rights to do that to the banana-thrower, but that doesn’t mean he or she won’t suffer consequences for those ugly actions. This report reveals two reprimands that could come from this incident.

The banana-tosser could be subject to a charge of “engaging in a prohibited activity” under the Trespass to Property Act.

John Labatt Centre officials said people throwing things on the ice are generally ejected, but in this instance, a person could be banned from the facility for a year or longer.

Honestly, it wouldn’t be excessive to ban that person from attending hockey games, period.

* Or maybe guilty parties, considering the rumors that more than one banana was thrown, with an earlier attempt missing the ice.

Ontario fan throws banana at Wayne Simmonds in shameful racist display

Wayne Simmonds

In what the NHL calls a “stupid and ignorant” display of racism, at least one fan threw a banana at black Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds during a shootout attempt tonight. Simmonds still managed to score on his attempt, although the Flyers ended up losing that preseason game to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a neutral-site crowd in London, Ontario.

It’s possible that this wasn’t the only time a fan attempted to throw a banana at Simmonds during the game, either. Brian Floyd passes along a fan’s note that someone tried to hit Simmonds with one late in the third period when he scored a 3-3 goal to send the contest to overtime, but that attempt fell short.

Sam Carchidi caught up with Simmonds following the game, who confirmed that it happened but said he didn’t want to make a big deal about it. Here’s a little more from Simmonds on what must have been a strange moment.

“I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact I’m black,” the Toronto native said. “I certainly hope not. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.”

Simmonds acknowledged the banana rattled him, and his only thought was to get off a shot — which went in for the Flyers’ only score in the shootout.

“It shocked me and knew I had to keep going and get a shot off,” he said. “It was certainly unusual.”

Simmonds deserves credit for shaking it off in such a professional way, but the fan (or fans) should be ashamed for that revolting act. To add an extra level of sadness to an already awful situation, Simmonds is a Scarborough, Ontario native.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time hockey fans have thrown bananas at a black hockey player. Former Carolina Hurricanes goalie Kevin Weekes dealt with the racial epithet during a 2002 series against the Montreal Canadiens.

As far as exchanges between opponents, it’s impossible to know how many slurs fly around during trash talking sessions, although there was at least once incident in which the matter became public. Georges Laraque accused Sean Avery of calling him a “monkey” in 2005, a claim that Avery denied.

Naturally, hockey isn’t the only sport in which fans interact with black players in such a way. (Soccer fans have a reputation of doing so, for example.) That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, especially since it’s far from uncommon to see black players in prominent roles now. Groundbreaking players such as Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr have made way for an impressive wave of stars, from Jarome Iginla to Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.

Obviously, such a ghastly display of racism is discouraging – it’s 2011, after all – but hopefully this will just be an ugly, isolated incident.

Update (10:15 am ET):  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement regarding the incident.

“We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our
players and for the game. The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one
individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London,

Red Wings bits: Rafalski presser on Wednesday, team will play Flyers in London, Ontario

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings - Game Four

The Detroit Red Wings’ season ended against the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 on May 13, but the team is generating news this week anyway. Here are two relevant bits about the Winged Wheels.

Rafalski will end his career as a distinguished yet underrated asset during his days with the Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. He won three Stanley Cups (two with New Jersey, one with Detroit) while playing in the shadow of talented blueliners such as Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom. He earned 515 points in 833 career regular season games and 100 in 169 postseason contests. You can’t ask for a much better career from that, especially since Rafalski came into the league with some doubts that he was big enough to succeed at the NHL level.

  • In shorter-term news, the Red Wings will play against the Philadelphia Flyers in London, Ontario an exhibition game on September 22 according to Tim Panaccio. The Flyers consider London, Ontario a home away from home in many ways. They’ve played at the John Labatt Centre eight times, but this will be their first game against the Red Wings at that venue.

“London truly is our home away from home,” said Comcast-Spectacor President and Global Spectrum chairman Peter Luukko. “The fan support here in London for the Flyers is outstanding. The John Labatt Centre is a fantastic hockey arena that our players enjoy visiting.

“To be playing the Detroit Red Wings here in London is a dream match-up for hockey fans in Southwestern Ontario and Eastern Michigan. It’s going to be a terrific night of hockey in the City of London.”