An NHL player is facing criminal charges after killing, beheading and then posing with a beloved grizzly bear in coastal British Columbia, Canada, in 2013.
Clayton Stoner posted photos online with the bear, affectionately called Cheeky by the Coastal First Nations that live in the area where the grizzly was hunted down and killed. After a lengthy investigation, Stoner, 30, of the Anaheim Ducks, was charged with two counts of making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, hunting without a license, hunting wildlife out of season and unlawful possession of dead wildlife, the Vancouver Sun reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. ‘Cheeky’ the Bear Was Skinned, Beheaded & Left to Rot in a Field
The bear, called Cheeky by the aboriginals who live in the coastal British Columbia area, was shot in the Kwatna River estuary, where trophy hunting has been declared off limits by the Coastal First Nations, the Vancouver Sun reported in 2013.
The aboriginals said the grizzly was beheaded, skinned and then left to rot in a field. The hunters carried out his head and paws, walking past a sign that declared trophy hunting closed.
2. Bear Hunting Is Legal, Despite Being Banned by the Coastal First Nations
According to the Vancouver Sun, hunting of grizzly bears remains legal in British Columbia, despite it being banned by the Coastal First Nations that live in the are where Cheeky was hunted and killed. It also remains legal despite 87 percent of residents in British Columbia opposing the activity, the Sun reports.
Faisal Moola, who is the director of the David Suzuki Foundation, which a Canadian environmental protection group, told the newspaper that it’s interesting that Stoner was charged for “bureaucratic reasons,” while the hunt itself remains legal.
“The hunt is part and parcel of a very bloody, horrific, painful experience for the bears,” Moola said.
Stoner’s charges all relate to residency conditions, the Conservation Officer Service told the Sun. The Wildlife Act requires that resident hunters be Canadian citizens or permanent residents whose primary residences are in British Columbia and are physically present in B.C., “greater portion of each of six calendar months out of the 12 calendar months,” before the application for the hunt and the actual hunt.
The conservation police say Stoner, who was playing for the Minnesota Wild at the time, did not meet those conditions because he was out of the area for several months. A person can still hunt in British Columbia without being a permanent resident,but must hire a B.C.-licensed guide-outfitter, which often costs about $25,000 for a coastal grizzly.
Stoner faces maximum fines of $50,000 to $250,000, the Sun reports.
3. Stoner Defended the Killing After it Was Made Public in 2013
Stoner has not commented since the charges were filed. In 2013, he <a href="http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/born+player+Clayton+Stoner+centre+grizzly+bear+shooting+controversy/8865136/story.html#ixzz3m19gSKic
“>issued a statement to the Vancouver Sun:
I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors. I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.
I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.
4. He Has Played in the NHL Since 2009 With the Minnesota Wild & Ducks
Stoner, who was born in Port McNeill, British Columbia, Canada, was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2004. After spending several years in the minor leagues, Stoner made his NHL debut in 2009.
In 2014, after five seasons with the Wild, Stoner, a defenseman, became a free agent and signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
5. He Is Known as an ‘Enforcer’
Stoner is known as an enforcer, a player who protects smaller teammates and often fights opponents.