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Complaint filed with NHL after cameraman attacked by Flyers fans in Philly

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

MONTREAL - A complaint has been filed with the National Hockey League after a Canadian TV cameraman was attacked in Philadelphia during a Stanley Cup semifinal game.

It was among several reported incidents involving unruly Flyers fans during the first two games of the Montreal Canadiens-Philadelphia Flyers series.

A spokesman for Radio-Canada, the CBC's French service, says a journalist was doing a report inside the Wachovia Center on Tuesday when someone tried to steal gear from a cameraman.

Martin Bonenfant says the crew's producer has formally complained to the NHL and authorities at the arena.

Bonenfant says people also tossed beer at a wire panel on a TV satellite truck outside. The Radio-Canada crew had to plug its gear back in to get on the air.

"It happened just as we were going to go on the air, but we were able to get it fixed," said Bonenfant, adding that no one was hurt.

In another incident, a Montreal sports reporter had a tire slashed on his car and his licence plate ripped off during Sunday's game.

It was also reported that two Philadelphia fans taunted francophone visitors with racial taunts.

The Twitter page of one reporter, which related the incident, noted the irony that those shouting the epithets were wearing Simon Gagne and Daniel Briere jerseys.

Ike Richman, vice-president of public relations for Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Flyers, urged fans to "be responsible and be respectful."

"Flyer fans are passionate and they love their team and sometimes they think they can take it upon themselves to make a difference," he said in an interview.

''We're not Montreal. We don't have riots here.''

Philadelphia police say they did not receive any reports involving hometown fans during the first two games of the series and, as a result, are not investigating any incidents.

"There was nothing out of the ordinary that would lead us to believe that there was mayhem down there," Sgt. Ray Evers said in an interview.

"When you have major sporting events in major cities, you're gonna have a fair share of knuckleheads and, like any other city, we have our fair share."

But Evers added that police will have emergency response teams ready for any trouble if the Flyers defeat Montreal.

"This is the round that would put us into the Stanley Cup and we'll definitely have our hot spots monitored."

The last time the Flyers won the Cup was in 1975.

A spokeswoman for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said everyone is looking forward "to a good—and hopefully short series.""We don't endorse any sort of negative behaviour and we want a good clean tournament," Maura Kennedy said.

Philadelphia is also the city that got a reputation for booing Santa Claus at a football game in December 1968 when "Father Christmas" walked onto the field during halftime and was met by a chorus of jeers and a barrage of snowballs from Eagles fans.

There was also a vomiting incident at a Phillies baseball game last April. A man intentionally vomited on the young daughter of an off-duty police captain and then hit the cop in the head several times.

The 21-year-old faced a number of charges including assault, harassment and resisting arrest.

"This is a very passionate sports city,'' Kennedy said. ''We're obviously very supportive of our sports teams.

"The vast majority of our fans are well-behaved, well-natured and just there to enjoy the game."


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