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Fan grabbed by Vancouver’s Rick Rypien speaks, instantly loses everyone’s support

Oct 20, 2010, 6:16 PM EST

Rick Rypien

You all knew this would be coming eventually, but the Minnesota Wild fan who was grabbed by Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien last night has spoken out about being the focus of the irate player’s attention. If you missed it from last night, Rypien went into the stands to grab a fan who was mock applauding him as he headed to the locker room during the second period of Vancouver’s 6-2 loss to the Wild in Minnesota.

Today, Wild beat reporter Michael Russo was able to get a hold of the fan, 28 year-old James Engquist, to ask him about what happened last night and what, if anything, they plan to do legally-speaking. Suffice to say, a lot of fans are not going to enjoy Engquist’s line of reasoning on matters.

“This is a crazy incident. I’ve seen a lot of hockey in my day, and I’ve never seen someone actually come into the stands and assault a fan,” said Engquist.

Engquist said he is “definitely seeking legal representation. … I was assaulted, that’s just the bottom line.”

Engquist said he didn’t receive an apology from the league, Rypien or the Canucks. He said he hasn’t heard anything from the Wild.

Now, I don’t want to say that Engquist doesn’t have a case to be made here, he does. Opting to pursue it, however, comes off really ugly for the regular fan that saw what went down. By the book “assault” is the correct term, by what you see on camera, however, and by the view of the court of public opinion the fan had his jersey grabbed while team officials grabbed Rypien and Engquist’s brother pulled him back from the fracas.

Filing a law suit on the matter, however, swings the opinion from being strongly against Rypien for crossing the boundary between players and fans to being against Engquist for seemingly ridiculous litigation. Engquist and his brother were moved to different seats along the glass after the incident occurred, giving them a slight upgrade on their seats behind the Canucks bench. Looking to cash in on what was ultimately a scary matter smacks of greed.

All of a sudden, Rick Rypien doesn’t look like the only one behaving badly here. The Wild and Canucks could both help to step in a diffuse the situation by playing the game a bit nicer PR-wise with Engquist and bend over a little backwards for the guy, but ultimately, Engquist going the route of filing a law suit reflects very poorly upon him.

Unfortunately for everyone, this matter isn’t over yet. Rypien is scheduled to meet with NHL officials in New York City on Friday to discuss what his punishment will be. I’m sure the talk of a lawsuit against him and the NHL will be brought up and factored into what his actions have done for everyone involved. Bad PR, in this case, is bad PR for everyone.

  1. tonya - Oct 20, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Mr. Engquist should remember that one of the main elements of suing the league will be proving his damages. Did he truly get injured or just soil his panties? I’m guessing the league will settle out of court on this one, of course, but I doubt he’ll get that much money.

    • cvandermeer89 - Dec 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM

      What you don’t seem to realize is that yes he was assaulted. Whether he crossed a barrier or not, and for what “damages” it could have caused him? He could plainly say that he is not longer comfortable with sitting that close to a game or even going to a game any more. He can say that it has caused him mental distress. That is worth at least a couple mil. I’d of done the same.

  2. stakex - Oct 20, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    A lawsuite here will never go anywhere because there really wasn’t any clear physical violence involved… and no court in the world would sustain any sort of assult charges in a criminal case. If Rypien had actually punched or otherwise hurt the fan, then yet… that would be a case. Not to mention their was provocation in this case. That won’t help Rypien as far as the league and its action again him is concerned… but from a legal perspective you can’t provoke someone, and then sue them.
    Either way, we all know hes just hoping that the league buckels and offers him season tickets or something, and I hope they dont. The NHL should fight this all the way.

    • cvandermeer89 - Dec 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

      What you don’t seem to realize is that yes he was assaulted. Whether he crossed a barrier or not, and for what “damages” it could have caused him? He could plainly say that he is not longer comfortable with sitting that close to a game or even going to a game any more. He can say that it has caused him mental distress. That is worth at least a couple mil. I’d of done the same. And as saying he provoked the attack? Last time I checked clapping at a sporting event is completely legal.

  3. birchlake - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    What a little NANCY. Agreed that Rypien should get a good suspension but you now want to lawyer up because you got shoved? If you took the mass transit to the game you got shoved harder than you did by Rypien. You got shoved harder standing in line for a wienie which makes me think you might be somewhat of a wienie. Bottom line is you’re a Nancy.

  4. cshearing - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Thanks for not calling the incident an attack this time :)

  5. 013hip - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    OK, can someone please tell me why a pansy-ass like this is at a hockey game?
    I’m sure that some small “token” of restitution will be made to Miss (oops) Mr. Engquist,
    But a lawsuit………C’mon, Rypien did’t drag him into the tunnel and make a man out of him! This sissy-boy need’s to find another sport.

  6. den1524 - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    I would sue the shit out of him. Who the fuck is he to grab a guy in the stands. Its too bad his brother tried to pull him away instead of leaning over and knocking Rypien teeth down his out. Rypien is a clown and thinks he’s some kind of rough guy. Hey kid, get what ever you can from that asshole, than go sit in the same seats next time and hold your money up whens he walks by and tell him ‘thanks tough guy”.

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