A hockey player whose violent outburst this weekend at a playoff game at the world ball hockey tournament was seen worldwide through an online video has apologized for attacking a Czech player, and for hurting a referee.
Justin Pender, a St. John's player with Canada's men's ball hockey team, hurled one punch after another at a Czech Republic player — with the fight starting just one second before Canada was to lose 5-1.
"After the hockey game was over I let the behaviour of a member on the opposing team anger me. My response to the taunting was misguided and someone was injured because of it," Pender said during an apology that was tweeted in segments through his Twitter account.
The outburst occurred Saturday in a quarterfinal game at an arena in Torbay, just north of St. John's. A YouTube video of the brawl was shared widely Monday on a variety of sports websites.
Video recorded at the scene shows Pender pushing a referee, and then chasing the Czech player while unleashing a cascade of punches. The local crowd cheered wildly as the melee continued, with two officials and the Czech goalie intervening.
One of the referees required medical treatment in hospital.
'Should have set a higher standard'
Pender apologized to the Czech team, the officials and his own teammates for what he did.
"Had I stayed calm and simply walked away this accident would have not occurred," he wrote.
"As a member of a team hosting an international event I should have set a higher standard of sportsmanship for myself but I did not and it reflected poorly upon my team who worked so hard for this competition."
Pender, who plays hockey professionally in the East Coast Hockey League, could face disciplinary action through the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation.
Edged by the Czechs in the playoffs, Canada's men's team wound up winning bronze in the tournament. Slovakia won the men's gold.
Canada's women's team won gold on Sunday.