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Four people arrested after disrupting Creston hockey game

Four people were arrested for mischief at Saturday’s Creston Valley Thundercats game after they barged into the arena without presenting tickets.

According to the Regional District of Central Kootenay, a group of people known to be active protestors of COVID-19 restrictions pushed their way into the game.

“A group of five or six anti-vaxers forcefully moved past security and ended up entering the lobby of the arena,” said Dan Elliott, RDCK Communication Coordinator. “From there, they opened locked doors of the building to let in about 25 more people into the building, so approximately 30 people in total were trespassing into the facility.”

Staff at the arena called RCMP after the people refused to leave.

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“We showed up and tried to talk to them to get them to leave on their own and they refused,” said Creston RCMP Cpl. Evan Diachok. “They kept telling us over and over that we would have to drag them out and they would not be leaving unless we physically make them leave.”

Since the Johnny Bucyk Arena is a licensed establishment, officers were able to remove them under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (LCLA).

“Four people were arrested for mischief, as the rec centre is a licensed premises, with the service of alcohol. They didn’t want to provide identification and under the LCLA, they had to be removed,” said Diachok. “Although their protest was COVID-related, it had really nothing to do with that on our end.”

Diachok noted that the four people who were arrested did not present tickets to Saturday’s game, either.

All RDCK buildings, including the Johnny Bucyk Arena,  follow provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

“It seems like it was an organized group who were looking to get themselves into the game,” said Elliott. “We need proof of vaccination to be in all of our facilities in terms of being a fan in the stands at the games. These people did not show proof of vaccination, were not wearing masks and forcefully entered into the game.”

After the people were removed, the rest of the game went on without any further incident. The Creston Valley Thunder Cats ended up taking a 6-1 win on home ice over the Castlegar Rebels.

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