Canucks' Rick Rypien suspended for 6 games for altercation with fan
The NHL on Friday suspended Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien for six games for getting into an altercation with a Minnesota Wild fan during his team's 6-2 loss on Tuesday.
Rypien can be seen grabbing the fan while heading to the dressing room after being assessed a double minor penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct penalty in the second period. The fan, dressed in a Wild jersey, can be seen applauding and saying something to Rypien before Rypien reached up and grabbed hold.
Rypien's suspension is the longest imposed by the NHL for player-fan interaction since March 20, 1982, when Vancouver's Doug Halward was banned for seven games.
Since Rypien had already been suspended indefinitely before Friday's hearing, he will be eligible to play against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 6, the NHL said. The Canucks were also fined $25,000.
"Prior to each season, all clubs and players are advised that under no circumstances are club personnel permitted to have physical contact with fans or enter, or attempt to enter, the stands," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "We hold NHL players to a high standard, and there simply is no excuse for conduct of this nature."
James Engquist, the 28-year-old fan involved in the incident, told the Pioneer Press he disagrees with the NHL's decision. "If you do that to someone at work, you're minimally going to be fired from your job," he said.
It should be noted that Engquist reportedly is looking for legal counsel to consider what options he might have.
-- Debbie Goffa
Photo: Rick Rypien is pulled by linesman Don Henderson toward the Vancouver bench after being assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct during the second period of Tuesday's game in Minneosta. Moments later, Rypien was involved in an altercation with a fan. Credit: Paul Battaglia/Associated Press