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Shattered glass at the Bay in Vancouver June 16, 2011 after Vancouver Canucks lost to Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail) (JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Shattered glass at the Bay in Vancouver June 16, 2011 after Vancouver Canucks lost to Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail) (JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Water polo player suspended over riot allegations Add to ...

A member of the Canadian junior national water polo team has been suspended for allegedly taking part in Wednesday's post-Stanley Cup riot in downtown Vancouver.

The player, a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named by law, was questioned by Water Polo Canada officials Friday after they were alerted to a photograph being circulated via the social media.

In the photograph, a person is seen dressed in a Vancouver Canucks jersey trying to light a torn shirt stuck in the gas tank of a Vancouver police car. Two police cars were burned, store fronts damaged and shops looted in the hostile aftermath of the Canucks home loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

The photograph of the person lighting the shirt was posted on several websites and Facebook pages.

Water Polo Canada executive director Ahmed El-Awadi said his organization had "people on the ground in Vancouver" who made contact with the player in question. Soon after those discussions, Water Polo Canada issued a statement that announced a "provisional suspension."

"We're taking immediate action due to the very serious nature of these allegations," Mr. El-Awadi said. "I can also confirm that the athlete has contacted us, through his legal counsel, to indicate that he will co-operate fully with the disciplinary process."

 Water Polo Canada will hold a hearing within the next week to review the matter and decide if further disciplinary action is needed.

"We also want to ensure that the athlete is given fair and reasonable access to due process," Mr. El Awadi said. "His future status will be determined after an investigation has been completed and an official hearing has been conducted."

 The player is believed to have turned himself in to Vancouver police but has yet to be charged. Water Polo Canada has said "any criminal proceedings would take precedence over the internal administrative process."

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