It was a chippy, heated affair in game three of the SIJHL playoffs last night. Both the Dryden GM Ice Dogs and the Thunder Bay North Stars had a number of penalties throughout the game. Unfortunately, the playoff-fuelled animosity didn’t end as the final buzzer rang.
Ice Dogs Head Coach Kurt Walsten was allegedly assaulted after the game by North Stars player Avery Siau. Walsten was not seriously injured, but was bloodied. The Thunder Bay Police Service is investigating the incident. SIJHL Commissioner Bryan Graham was in attendance at the game.
“It’s unfortunate. Emotions spill over sometimes. Things got seriously out of control last night. It’s unprecedented,” said Ice Dogs President Mike Sveinson.
He noted that there will be a security team for the next playoff game, and potentially the rest of the series.
“The question that we’re faced with here, several people are concerned about the safety of our players and staff. We have to play the game with heightened security in an environment that gives people the peace of mind that their kids are looked after, or we don’t play. We will resolve the security issues that took place last night. The safety of the two teams is paramount.”
Sveinson noted that the Ice Dogs and the North Stars are working together to resolve the security issues.
The North Stars currently lead the best of seven series 2-1. Game four goes tonight back in Thunder Bay.
“It’s a downer that we lost the game last night. We’re going to bring our best effort tonight. Try to stay out of the penalty box, like we didn’t last night, and hope for a better result and move past this.” Sveinson added.
Both teams will be without players for the foreseeable future. The North Stars will be without Avery Siau. The Ice Dogs will be without both Carson Lux and Matthew Pitchenese, as both will be serving indefinite suspensions.
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Ice Dogs fall in game three