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British Columbia 17-year-old apologizes for involvement in Stanley Cup riots

A small tornado forms inside the fire of a burning car during riots in Vancouver, British Columbia June 16, 2011.

Andy Clark /Reuters/Andy Clark /Reuters

A 17-year-old boy whose picture was taken as he appeared to attempt to set a police car on fire during the Vancouver riots has come forward to apologize.

Nathan Kotylak, a physician's son from the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge, said there was no excuse for his actions on Wednesday night after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and that he must "atone for what I did."

"I want to say as clearly as I can that there is no excuse for my behaviour," Nathan said in a statement issued by his lawyer, Bart Findlay.

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"It does not reflect the values that my family and community raised me to live by. In a moment, I acted in a way that is an embarrassment to my family, my school, my community, the Vancouver Canucks and the City of Vancouver. I am truly ashamed of what I did."

Nathan, who graduates this year from Meadowridge School, is a member of the Canadian junior national water polo team and was planning to attend the University of Calgary next year. On Friday Water Polo Canada announced a "provisional suspension" of an unnamed player who is understood to be Nathan.

Mr. Findlay said the teen turned himself into police on Friday and that Nathan and his family signed a formal waiver of his right to anonymity under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A Vancouver Police Department spokesman was unable to confirm this on Sunday, saying the police force cannot identify any youths who may have turned themselves in. But no charges have been laid against the teen, according to both police and Mr. Findlay.

"He wanted to make an apology," Mr. Findlay said. " He felt horrible. He feels he has disgraced his parents, his teammates and his friends and he needed to take responsibility for his actions."

The lawyer wouldn't comment on any of the details of what Mr. Kotylak was pictured doing the night of the riots. He said the teen was watching the game on a big screen downtown and got caught up in the crowd reaction when the Canucks lost 4-0 to the Boston Bruins.

Meantime, Mr. Findlay said the Kotylak family has left their Maple Ridge, B.C. home following a backlash from citizens angered by his involvement in the riot.

He said the family's home address has been published online and there have been threats that people will show up at the house.

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"Strangely that mob mentality unfortunately has percolated into the social media," Mr. Findlay said.

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