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Streaker raises security issues for NHL

Posted: Friday October 18, 2002 8:36 PM
  streaker A streaker interrupted the third period of Thursday's Bruins-Flames game, but a poor landing knocked him out cold. AP

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- A man who climbed onto the ice wearing only red socks drew mostly laughter and pity when he fell flat on his back during Thursday night's Boston-Calgary game.

Others weren't amused, however, and raised questions about security at NHL arenas.

With five minutes left in the game, the unidentified man climbed over the glass next to the penalty box, but he wound up hitting his head when he fell. After a 6-minute delay, he was taken off on a stretcher to a loud ovation. Having regained consciousness, he pumped his hands in the air.

"I felt bad for him, the poor guy. I thought he'd broken his neck," Flames goalie Jamie McLennan said. "It was more comedic relief for everyone. It's like a burglar who locks himself in the house with no escape."

The streaker was kept overnight at a hospital, and charges were pending, said Inspector Peter Jackson of the Calgary Police Service

"I can imagine the only one you'd really have is public nudity -- indecent exposure," said Jackson.

Five years ago, a British visitor pulled a similar stunt at a Flames game but did so successfully. He took a lap around the ice before being arrested and later paid a fine.

"This guy was considerably more clumsy," Jackson said.

Still, the episode angered Flames coach Greg Gilbert.

"Security around the National Hockey League's been bolstered, and it's a rare occurrence, but it's something we don't condone," he said Friday. "It's not only silly but it's dangerous, as was proved last night."

Last month, Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa was attacked by a father and his teenage son who ran out of the stands at Chicago's Comiskey Park.

"It's a touchy subject. I mean you want to feel like you're protected when you're there entertaining," McLennan said.

Management at the Saddledome is reviewing what happened, said Libby Raines, vice-president of building operations. She said it's difficult for 160 ushers and security staff to guard against the antics of 16,000 fans.

"Short of assigning one person to every individual in the building, it's difficult to protect against everything that people can come up with," she said.

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