National Hockey League player Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks has been suspended pending a hearing, as the result of Tuesday’s confrontation with a Minnesota Wild fan.
The confrontation occurred during the game against the Minnesota Wild as Rypien was headed to the dressing room. He had just received a double-minor penalty for roughing and received a 10-minute misconduct. As he walked toward the dressing room, he reached up and grabbed the arm of the Minnesota Wild fan that was standing close the railing. The fan appeared to be happy about Rypien’s 10-minute misconduct and was applauding Rypien’s removal.
Rypien let go of the fan’s arm after a few seconds and continued on into the dressing room. The fan was relocated to a front-row seat.
When the altercation occurred, there was 6:22 remaining in the second period and Vancouver was trailing 5-1. The team surrendered a power-play goal eight second later.
Although National Hockey League rules state that a player “who physically interferes with the spectators, becomes involved in an altercation with a spectator, or throws any object at a spectator shall automatically incur a game misconduct penalty,” Rypien opened the third period in the penalty box.
Rypien scrapped with Brad Staubitz of the Wild during the first period and had another run-in with him in the second period. During the second interaction, Rypien attempted to sucker punch Staubitz as linesman Don Henderson attempted to separate the two.
“I think we’re going to wait and see how the league views it, get their opinion,” said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. “I’m sure there will be a hearing of some sort and go from there.”
Although Rypien was assessed 19 penalty minutes in the Canucks-Wild game, he is not the only player to have committed a suspensive infraction so far this season; Niklas Hjalmarsson was ordered to sit out two games for a blindside hit on Jason Pominville, while Pierre-Luc Letourneau-LeBlond of the New Jersey Devils received a one-game suspension for starting a fight with Marcus Johansson.