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Man charged in racially tinged incident at NHL game

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chris Moorhouse, 26, is charged in incident during NHL exhibition game
  • He allegedly threw a banana while a black player was attempting a shot
  • The charge, not a criminal offense, carries a maximum $2,000 fine
  • The player, Wayne Simmonds, is accused more recently of an anti-gay slur

(CNN) -- A London, Ontario, man has been charged in connection with the throwing of a banana during a hockey exhibition game last week when one of the NHL's few black players was attempting a shot, police said Wednesday.

Chris Moorhouse, 26, was charged with engaging in prohibited activity on premise, which carries a fine of up to $2,000. It is characterized as a "provincial offense" rather than a criminal offense, the London Police Service said in a statement.

The incident occurred Thursday in an exhibition game in Ontario between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings, during a shootout -- in which a succession of players attempt to get shots past the opposing goalie to break a tie. When Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds was in the process of taking his shot, someone tossed a banana onto the ice.

The London Police Service said it had received information that led them to arrest Moorhouse.

"Notwithstanding the strong public sentiment that this incident has caused, Mr. Moorhouse has expressed his remorse for his action," the police said in the statement.

"We fully support the efforts to prosecute this individual, Flyers President Peter Luukko was quoted as saying on the league's official website, NHL.com. "We have zero tolerance when it comes to this type of foolish behavior. We will not tolerate it at the John Labatt Centre nor any of the other facilities we manage."

More recently, Simmonds has become embroiled in another sensitivity issue, this time as the alleged offender.

On Monday, Simmonds was seen mouthing an apparent anti-gay slur at the New York Rangers' Sean Avery as a brawl was being broken up in that game.

In a press conference after the game, Avery said that Simmonds had shouted the word "f****t" at him.

Avery has been an outspoken advocate for the gay marriage initiative that recently became law in New York.

On Tuesday, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) issued a statement saying Simmonds' action created "a climate of intolerance and hostility," that he should apologize the Flyers and the league "have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."

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