World of Sport

Hockey star goes nuts, chases player, punches him repeatedly, says sorry

World of Sport

The 2013 world ball hockey championships were held last weekend in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and featured one of the most audacious attacks by a player on any hockey surface this year.

Justin Pender, a player for the Canadian men’s team, lost his mind after the Czech Republic scored into an empty goal to clinch a 5-1 win. It begun with a cross-check to a Czech forward who was taunting him; it ended with a referee on a stretcher.

Pender began throwing punches and chasing the Czech player down the ice. Czech goaltender Lukas Heczko jumped on his team-mate, as did game officials, to protect him from the blows.

From The Telegram (via Eye on Hockey):

Canadian defenceman Justin Pender of St. John's was given a double match penalty with one second left after an incident that resulted in a game official being taken off the floor on a stretcher. The official was reportedly injured as he tried to intervene when Pender tangled with a Czech player after the winners scored an empty-net goal. Czech goaltender Lukas Heczko was also involved.

Pender is a veteran of the ECHL - considered the third tier of professional hockey in North America behind the NHL and the AHL.

As you can imagine, this momentary lapse in sanity isn’t exactly good for the oldprofessional image. So Pender took to social media to let everyone know he’s sorry. Really, really, really sorry.

From his Twitter feed:

“I would like to take this moment to apologise for my actions on Saturday June 8th. After the hockey game was over I let the behaviour of a member on the opposing team anger me. My response to the taunting was misguided and someone was injured because of it.

“I would like to apologise to the Czech team members for my handling the situation poorly and truly hope that my actions will not be reflected in their opinion of my fellow team members. What I did is not representative of my team or how ball hockey is played in Canada.

“I would also like to send a heartfelt apology to the referee who was hurt when (I /another player) fell on him during the fight. Had I stayed calm and simply walked away this accident would have not occurred.

“Finally I would like to apologise to my team. As a member of a team hosting an international event I should have set a higher standard of sportsmanship for myself but I did not and it reflected poorly upon my team who worked so hard for this competition.

“Going forward I will make every effort to prevent this from happening again In order to develop better sportsmanship. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope it can give a sense of how truly sorry I am.”

Be nice if he apologised a 40th time in that screed. Thirty-nine seems forced.

But seriously, good on Pender for owning up to his mistakes.

Greg Wyshynski | Puck Daddy

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