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‘Serious judgment mistakes’ result in extra AUS suspensions in hockey brawl

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The Acadia hockey player who admitted to making an inappropriate comment during a university hockey game that triggered a brawl has been suspended for five additional games.

Axemen forward Rodney Southam of Saskatoon was informed Tuesday of the decision handed down following an investigation by Atlantic University Sport (AUS), the body that governs university sport in the region. 

Several fights broke out near the Axemen bench during the Acadia- St. F X game on February 2. (AUStv)

“The AUS supports the decisions made by the men’s hockey sport chair,” Phil Currie, AUS executive director, said in a statement issued Tuesday. 

“His review was thorough and included consultation with affected players, officials, former and current university coaches, athletic directors and sport administrators.”

The suspensions will take effect immediately and will carry over into the 2019-2020 regular season if necessary, AUS said.

Player admits making slur

Last week, AUS suspended 15 players and the head coaches for the Acadia Axemen and the St. Francis Xavier X-Men as part of its initial response to the melee that broke out Feb. 2 in Wolfville. Those suspensions totalled 39 games.  

Southam was one of three Acadia players to be suspended for additional games on Tuesday.

Two St. FX players were also suspended for additional games.

In a statement released late last Thursday, Southam admitted taunting St. FX forward Sam Studnicka by saying, “You look like a little f—ing rapist.”

Southam added he did not know Studnicka had a close link to a survivor of sexual assault. Southam also said he was once falsely accused of sexual assault when he played junior hockey in Western Canada. 

Acadia responds

Studnicka was the first player to publicly comment about the brawl when he issued a statement two days following the incident.

He said he was “the target of a derogatory comment related to a sexual assault survivor. It was this comment that instigated the altercation that followed.”

In a statement Tuesday, Acadia said it felt Studnicka’s public comments spurred “unfair” commentary on social media and in the mainstream media. It called Studnicka’s statement inaccurate and said it made a very difficult time “considerably worse.”

The university also called the word Southam used “inexcusable.”

“Our student-athlete and all of those associated from Acadia Athletics, regret and continue to be very apologetic for what was said and how it affected another student-athlete and his family,” said Kevin Dickie, Acadia’s executive director of athletics.

Extra suspensions for coaches

Studnicka, who fought Southam at centre ice, has not been suspended for any additional games. He was suspended for two games in an initial decision handed down Feb. 6.

Both coaches have also received additional discipline.

Darren Burns of Acadia and Brad Peddle of St. FX have both been suspended for an additional eight games. The coaches were previously suspended for the last two games of the regular season.

“These suspensions are significant, coming at a time of year where most sanctions will be served during the playoffs,” said AUS men’s hockey chair David MacLean.

“A lot of really fine young people made serious judgment mistakes. I know they will learn from it and move on to bigger and better things. I want to thank everyone for their full co-operation.”

‘Could have been handled much better’

Currie later told CBC News there were leadership issues on both teams.

“The bench side of things could have been handled much better,” Currie said in an interview. “You know we expect that in our regulations in terms of coaches’ conduct and how they handle these situations.”

Currie said AUS will likely strengthen its standard of conduct policies around “egregious comments” as a result of this incident.

“We have general statements that are in our policies, but I think we have to be a little more aggressive around those kind of things.”

Acadia and St. FX are set to begin their first round playoff series Wednesday night in Antigonish.

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Ottawa sets monthly record for total COVID-19 cases with 99 new cases on Friday

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Sixteen days into October, Ottawa has already set the record for most cases of COVID-19 in a single month.

Ottawa Public Health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa today, and three more deaths linked to novel coronavirus.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health had reported 108 new cases of COVID-19, but there is sometimes a lag in COVID-19 case reporting between Ontario and Ottawa Public Health. On Wednesday, Ontario reported 39 new cases in Ottawa, while Ottawa Public Health reported 45 new cases.

There have been 1,511 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa in October, surpassing the September record of 1,413 new cases.

Since the first case of COVID-19 on March 11, there have been 5,908 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 301 deaths.

Across Ontario, there are 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 213 new cases in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region and 62 in York Region.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

One more person was admitted to an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 related illnesses on Friday.

Ottawa Public Health reports 47 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including eight in the intensive care unit.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of active cases of COVID-19 increased on Friday.

There are 792 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, up from 777 active cases on Thursday.

A total of 4,806 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

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Ottawa mayor rejects possible return of Ottawa-Gatineau border checkpoints, ‘I really don’t think they work’

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Mayor Jim Watson does not want to see police checkpoints return to the five interprovincial crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, saying “I really don’t think they work.”

Earlier this week, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told the Ottawa Citizen that police checkpoints could return to the Ottawa-Gatineau border at “any time,” with the final decision in the hands of the Quebec Government. Earlier this month, Dr. Brigitte Pinard of the Centre Integre de sante et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais said border checkpoints were “possible,” adding “right now, our message is to limit large gatherings.”

When asked by CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts about the possibility of police checkpoints returning to the Ontario-Quebec border, Watson said he did not think they worked back in the spring.

“There were so many gaps when the police were not there, and people just figured out I’ll go at an earlier time or a later time. We saw police officers sticking their heads in the car with no masks, so that was not healthy for those individuals,” said Watson Friday morning.

“It’s a costly expense when our police are stretched already to the limit trying to do the work, to have them set up at five different bridge points potentially 24 hours a day would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and I think the money is better spent.”

On April 1, Gatineau Police and the Surete du Quebec set up checkpoints along the Ottawa-Gatineau border to limit non-essential trips into Gatineau. Gatineau Police estimated the random police checkpoints between April 1 and May 17 cost the service more than $400,000.

Mayor Watson tells CTV Morning Live that the Quebec Government’s decision to move Gatineau into the “red zone” two days after Ontario moved Ottawa to a modified Stage 2 should help.

“We are a close relationship and when things happen in Gatineau there’s often a trickle effect over here and I think the fact that we’re both in the red zone, and Quebec of course is the worst hit province, at least levels the playing field for our restaurants and bars,” said Watson.

“I think in the past what had happened was our restaurants and bars would close and then the ones in Gatineau would stay open, and then people from Ottawa would go over there irresponsibly, in my opinion, and then come back potentially with the virus and spread it here.”

While border checkpoints would limit the non-essential travel across the Ottawa-Gatineau border, Watson says that’s not the way to beat COVID-19.

“The message is very clear, stick to your household. This is not the time to have an AirBNB party or a keg party in your backyard, or have 20 people or 30 people in for an engagement party. I know a lot of these get-togethers are important socially for people and emotionally, but we have to ask people to be reasonable and responsible, and this is not the year to do those kinds of things.”

Roberts asked the mayor if he would have a conversation about border checkpoints with Gatineau’s mayor.

“I had it the first go-around, but at the end of the day I also respect their jurisdiction and their autonomy. It is the province that would have to impose that, not the municipality,” said Watson.

“From our perspective, we don’t think it’s an effective use of resources. We want to continue to get the message across that we can win this battle against COVID-19 if we socially distance, we wear a mask, we actually follow the simple rules that are put forward.”

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Ottawa woman breaks 14-day quarantine rule to work at long-term care home: police

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OTTAWA — A 53-year-old Ottawa woman is facing charges under the federal Quarantine Act after Ottawa police say she failed to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling abroad and returned to work at a long-term care home.

Ottawa Police say information was received indicating that an Ottawa woman had travelled abroad. She returned to Canada on Sept. 26, so she was required under federal law to quarantine for 14 days, until Oct. 9

“The woman decided not to respect this order and went to work on Sept. 30 at a long-term health facility in Ottawa,” police said in a news release. “When management was apprised of the situation, she was immediately sent home. The facility immediately activated mitigating self-isolation and cleaning protocols and informed all persons that had been in contact with the subject.”

Police say none of the residents of the long-term care facility have tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of the woman attending work.

Ottawa police say this is the first person they have charged under the Quarantine Act during the pandemic.

The woman is charged with failing to comply with entry condition under section 58 of the Quarantine Act and cause risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm under section 67 of the Quarantine Act.

The maximum penalty for causing risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm is a $1 million fine and three years in prison. For failing to self-isolate for 14 days, she faces a $750,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Police did not release the name of the woman, nor where she worked. The woman is due in court on Nov. 24.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s office issued a statement following the announcement of the charges.

“Mayor Watson was disturbed to learn about the alleged carelessness of the individual in question. This type of reckless behaviour could have harmed their colleagues, and more importantly, the residents of the long term care home. We must all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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