A brawl among figure skaters "letting off steam" ended with a visit from the police, who were called by hotel staff to quiet things down.
One man cut his cheek in the scuffle at Mississauga's Delta Meadowvale Hotel and Conference Centre, where hundreds of figure skaters were finishing a week of national championships. Skate Canada is investigating the incident and there may be consequences for any scuffling skaters who are heading for international competitions later this year.
Peel Police were called at 5 a.m. to deal with the disturbance after a noise complaint from hotel staff went unheeded. Sergeant Pete Brandwood said police sent the figure skaters to their rooms, but noted the incident wasn't criminal in nature. The man with the cut cheek didn't need medical assistance.
The melee began as a celebration, says Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada's director of high performance. The skaters involved, around 18 to 22 years old, had just finished an intense week of skating (the men's, ladies and pairs figure skating wrapped up Saturday; ice dancers finished Sunday).
"As with many competitions, the skaters let off some steam on the last night. And it seems some of them maybe were letting off a bit too much steam," he said. "We are looking into the situation because it's not acceptable, when they come to an event, to have something escalate to a point where the hotel has to get extra assistance."
As far as Mr. Slipchuk knows, the high-spirited celebration was confined to the hotel itself, whose occupants last week were almost all figure skaters, officials and family members. He isn't sure whether there was underage drinking involved.
Mr. Slipchuk doesn't think the fight had anything to do with the the championship or skating rivalries. "From what we've been told, it had nothing to do with the results or the skaters in the event. … This was an isolated incident that just went a little too far."
The week-long championships featured skaters of all ages from across the country. Mississauga played host to the event for the first time. This is where Skate Canada selects contenders who'll head to international skating events later this year – the Four Continents Championships in Osaka, Japan, and the World Junior Championships in Milan, Italy.
Mr. Slipchuk said he isn't sure whether any of the skaters involved in the scuffle were heading to those international events. If they are, "we would definitely have a discussion regarding that incident. Because it's not acceptable at home and it's definitely not acceptable when you're representing your country abroad."
Mr. Slipchuk emphasized that the incident didn't involve "any of our notable or high-profile team members. Our top skaters do not get involved in things like that."
While Skate Canada is taking this incident seriously, Mr. Slipchuk said, he isn't convinced it's quite as big a deal as it's made out to be. Several skating officials staying in the hotel slept through the disruption and didn't hear a thing about it until Sunday.
"We don't want it to escalate into a bigger situation. It's kids being kids," he said. "It seemed to get a lot more legs than probably it should have."
With a report from The Canadian Press