Jersey tossers face fines, bans from MLSE properties
By The Canadian PressNews Retail mlse
Three spectators are facing fines and one-year bans from Air Canada Centre after throwing Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys on the ice in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.
It was yet another low point for a team that has lost five games in a row and appears to be a longshot to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Other fans showed their displeasure with the lacklustre performance by wearing paper bags over their heads.
Jerseys have been tossed on the ice on occasion throughout the regular season but the fans’ frustration appears to be mounting as the Maple Leafs have lost 13 of their last 16 games.
There were three jersey-throwing incidents on Monday night, including one that occurred while play was underway.
Toronto Police confirmed Tuesday that three spectators were charged under the province’s Trespass to Property Act. The offence, specifically called “engage in prohibited activity,” is not a criminal charge but it carries a fine of about $125.
“If you’re doing something that interrupts the game, you’ll be investigated and charged but the charges can vary depending upon how serious the infraction is,” said police spokesman David Hopkinson.
No names will be released since it’s not a criminal investigation, Hopkinson added.
Fans who interfere with play at a professional sporting event could be charged with public mischief under the Criminal Code and even face jail time.
“Let’s say you’re at the Rogers Centre and someone runs on the field,” Hopkinson said. “That person is arrested and charged with public mischief. Public mischief can carry I believe up to a two-year sentence in jail. It’s not anything to sneeze at, I consider that a fairly serious charge. It carries with it all the stigma of a criminal charge. So it can go all the way up to that.”
Spectators are warned about interrupting play and/or entering the field or playing surface while at pro sports venues. Fans will often throw hats on the ice when a player scores a hat trick but the tossing of jerseys – which can cost as much as $300 depending on the quality – or other items is verboten.
“In the events that occurred last night, the investigators believed that the people should be given the fine and that’s what occurred,” Hopkinson said. “But in the future, this can easily result in a criminal charge.”
An MLSE spokesperson said a facility ban is automatic in cases like this and offenders can apply for reinstatement in the future.
“You interfere with the game – especially during play, which happened last night – you’re removed from the building and issued a trespass from Air Canada Centre security and it results in a one-year ban from our facilities.”
Air Canada Centre holds about 19,000 fans for hockey. Arena security guards monitor the facility along with police officers.
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