Fans turn violent after hockey championship

Frozen Four fiascoes

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2003

Fans from the winning and losing teams at the NCAA hockey championship threw bottles and rocks, smashed store windows and set trash bins on fire in separate outbreaks of violence that resulted in more than 100 arrests.

No injuries were reported in Minneapolis, but in New Hampshire, 17 people were treated for exposure to pepper gas, the university said.

The disturbances began shortly after Minnesota beat New Hampshire 5-1 Saturday night in Buffalo, N.Y., for the Gophers' second straight title.

At Durham, N.H., police twice fired pepper gas into a bottle-throwing crowd of about 4,000 people who spilled into downtown after the game. It took two hours for the crowd to disperse, and police made 90 arrests.

In Minneapolis, shop owners swept up broken glass and repaired storefronts near the university Sunday. Police arrested 11 people after a celebration over the Gophers' win turned into a window-smashing, rock-throwing melee. Five vehicles, one owned by a TV station, were set ablaze, and emergency workers were pelted with bottles, rocks and chunks of concrete.

It took 100 officers to restore order to a crowd of about 2,000, police spokesman Ron Reier said. He expects charges to be filed against those arrested.

University President Robert Bruininks said Sunday that he was outraged and disappointed by the criminal activities in and around the campus.

We are deeply disappointed that the actions of some individuals have tarnished the reputation of this institution and the majority of law-abiding, responsible university students,'' Bruininks said in a statement. A victory such as this should be a time for building community, not tearing it down.''

In New Hampshire, firefighters answered 21 calls, mostly for fires set in trash bins and on a couch, school spokeswoman Kim Billings said. She added that students will be brought before the student conduct system, and there probably will be suspensions.

It was an outrageous occurrence,'' said Gregg Sanborn, executive assistant to the university president. It seems to be a situation these days where it's becoming part of the culture.''

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