Kill McGill trip goes sour

AMS demands refund, apology for McGill’s behaviour

The continuation of the traditional Kill McGill road trip organized by the AMS may depend on whether or not McGill University decides to answer its mail.

In response to the conduct of McGill students at last Saturday’s annual Queen’s-McGill hockey game in Montreal, Campus Activities Commissioner Hilary Smith sent a letter to the athletics department at McGill requesting a letter of apology to all Queen’s students who attended the game as well as a refund for the cost of tickets.

Smith said she had asked the event organizers to designate a separate seating area for the visiting Queen’s students and had been told her request would be granted, but she found upon arrival that no special considerations had been made and Queen’s students sat interspersed among the general crowd.

She said McGill students were chanting and holding up signs that said “Queen’s fuck sheep” and “Bestiality is a crime” and throwing beer and other objects at the visitors.

AS physical and verbal confrontations between Queen’s and McGill students continued to escalate, Smith felt not enough was being done by McGill security and decided it was time for Queen’s students to leave the game.

Early in the third period, Smith arranged for Queen’s students to be escorted out of the arena by security.

By the time the group left, several physical fights had broken out, which Smith said were instigated by McGill students.

“I don’t think that winners and people who are hosting the game should act that way,” Smith said.

She said she spoke to security personnel at the arena about the problem but was told that they were doing what they could and didn’t have any more people to assign to the area in the stands where the largest number of Queen’s students was sitting. She said she then spoke directly to several McGill students to try to prevent fighting, but her attempts to head off conflict were only met with more profanity. She said the student also punched her in the face.

“I politely asked them not to start fights and a McGill student—a very intoxicated McGill fan—proceeded to say ‘fuck you’ and made contact with my jaw.” She said she felt McGill was unprepared for the event.

“When you have a packed arena and you haven’t taken security measures, there really is nothing you can do after altercations start.”

Smith said she made the decision to leave the arena early in the third period of the game and had the group escorted out of the building by security.

She said if the AMS does not receive a positive response to their letter from the University, they will forward it to other schools to inform them of the incident.

But John Madden, Comm ’09, and Sean Wetmore, ArtSci ’07, both attended Saturday’s game and both said they never felt like they were in any immediate danger.

“I definitely enjoyed it,” said Wetmore, who didn’t travel on the bus but drove to Montreal with friends for the game. “I didn’t see it as out of control or an unsafe place to be.”

He said he had heard that the fans would be rowdy and, knowing that alcohol would be served in the arena, was prepared for what happened.

“I didn’t find it too offensive or anything,” he said.

Madden said he also felt security in the arena was adequate but decided to co-operate when the organizers decided to leave.

He said he didn’t see any major problems and overall found the trip to be a positive experience.

“I saw some pushing and shoving before we left but I didn’t see any big blows.”

Brett Gibson, head coach of the Queen’s men’s hockey team, said he was concerned for his team as they went on and off the ice because of the large number of people in attendance and the amount of alcohol that was consumed.

“When you serve that much alcohol, people are going to cross the line.”

He said McGill fans were getting into the faces of Queen’s players, and security at the rink gates should have been tighter.

He said he expressed his concerns to Queen’s interuniversity co-ordinator Bill Sparrow, who will pass them on to McGill.

He stressed that the issues had nothing to do with McGill’s hockey team and was directed only at the lack of security.

He said he thinks the event should continue, but fans need to learn to separate the schools from the individuals.

“I think it’s a great rivalry and should be continued, but people need to realize that [the players] are regular guys,” he said.

“It comes down to the fact that these guys are human beings. They aren’t the title of the school.”

McGill will come to Kingston to play in January and Gibson said he hopes Queen’s fans will set a better example.

“I think the way we can retaliate back is to show the spirit of this school and the maturity of this school without crossing that line.”

Queen’s lost the game 6-3. Their next game is tonight a t 7:30 p.m. at Jock Harty against Waterloo.

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