CFL, police investigate attack
June 16, 2007
By Perry Lefko, Sportsnet.ca
The Vancouver City Police Department and the Canadian Football League are conducting separate investigations following a highly-unusual incident in which an official was allegedly struck by a patron during Friday night's pre-season game between the B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders at B.C. Place.
During the third quarter of the game, which Saskatchewan won 24-15, a male patron entered the field near the Roughriders' bench and made contact from behind with side judge Steve Dolyniuk, touching off a wild melee.
Jim Daley, the CFL's Senior Advisor of Officiating and Football Operations, was at the game and was asked to give a statement to the Vancouver police.
"Because of the police investigation I cannot comment on the specifics at this time," Daley said in an e-mail to Sportsnet.ca.
Daley said he has also filed a report with the CFL office.
Regina Leader-Post football reporter Darrell Davis told Sportsnet.ca that the patron came onto the field and "barrel-rolled" into Dolyniuk.
Davis said several members of the Roughriders team pounced on the patron, including defensive lineman Luc Mullinder, who grabbed and put the patron in a clothesline grip. Roughriders director of player personnel Joe Womack, who is also the team's strength and conditioning coach, and defensive line coach Ron Estay became involved and pinned the patron to the ground.
"He helped Womack a little bit but the (patron) wasn't struggling," Davis said. "He was just kind of laying down."
A timekeeper also assisted in the process until security arrived and escorted the patron away. It is not believed Dolyniuk suffered any injury.
Dolyniuk, now in his seventh year of officiating, deferred comment to CFL Director of Officiating George Black, who said he cannot remember when, if ever, there's been an incident in the CFL when a fan came out of the stands and made contact with an official. Black officiated for 22 years.
The CFL indicated in a statement to Sportsnet.ca that the matter is considered extremely serious.
"The CFL places the utmost importance on the safety and welfare of our officials," CFL Chief Operating Officer Michael Copeland said. "We are extremely disappointed that this incident has taken place and will provide our full support to the efforts of the local authorities as they pursue legal recourse against the offender involved."
B.C. Place security officials were unavailable.
There is a possibility that charges could be pending, although Vancouver City Police were unavailable for comment.
Davis said any time a fan enters the field of play during a Roughriders game without the permission of the team criminal trespassing charges are laid.