NHLer Clayton Stoner's father says 'Cheeky' the grizzly bear never existed
The NHLer was convicted hunting a grizzly bear without a proper licence
The father of National Hockey League defenceman Clayton Stoner is sharing what he says is the "real story" of a 2013 grizzly bear hunt that led to a conviction against his son.
Ken Stoner says in a Facebook post published Thursday that since the news broke almost three years ago, it has been extremely hard while his entire family has listened to "lies."
Wildlife advocates and First Nations claimed the animal was a beloved tourist attraction named Cheeky, after graphic photos were published of his son holding a severed grizzly bear head from the spring hunt in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest.
But Ken Stoner says he doesn't believe a bear named Cheeky ever existed and that once anti-hunting groups learned his son played for the NHL they used the photos to advance their cause.
He says the possibility that his son didn't qualify for a resident hunting licence never crossed anyone's mind, as he was born, raised and owns a home on Vancouver Island.
A lawyer for the Anaheim Ducks player entered a guilty plea on his behalf this week for one count of hunting without a licence, prompting a judge to issue a three-year hunting ban and $10,000 fine.