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Premier Roland drops the gloves

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 15, 2009

INUVIK - Premier Floyd Roland has fought his fair share of battles in the legislative assembly and it seems he isn't afraid to drop the gloves when he's on the ice either.

In the third period of a game between Talbot's Maple Leafs and Black Knight in Yellowknife's B division recreational hockey league on Sunday night, Roland was involved in some fisticuffs.

"I understand in the game, as soon as the gloves are dropped, it's a fighting major," said Roland, who plays for Black Knight.

"I don't think it was anything more than playing a game. Things were happening and some bumping was happening and that went off.

"It's hockey," he said.

Roland, who has been playing the game since he was 13 years old, plays in the old-timers and rec league. He also joined the Inuvik team at the First Nations Cup in December. Darcy Milkowski refereed the game and said he was watching the play go the other way when the fight began.

"The guys had already dropped the gloves and were squaring off," he said.

Milkowski said the game had become chippy midway through the first period.

"The two guys were at each other a little bit, picking here and picking there," he said.

He said a couple of punches were thrown and both players ended up on the ice before they were separated.

"They were beaking off to each other on their way to the dressing rooms," he said. "But nothing came of it after that."

According to the rec league's website, any player involved in a fight will receive a minimum three-game suspension for the first offence, a five-game suspension for a second fight, 10 games for a third fight, and 15 games - or an expulsion from the league for rest of the season - for any subsequent fights.

"All that I know is he is going to get the standard suspension: three games for fighting," said Greg Cameron, head official of the Yellowknife Rec League.

"I thought it was one game," said Roland. "Bummer."

"It's a good thing I still get to play old-timers," he said, adding those games don't get as aggressive.

Roland may see his suspension expire by the time he gets back from a first ministers' meeting in Ottawa. He left for the meeting Tuesday. The league's website names the player from Talbot's on its suspension page but only #66 from Black Knight is shown where Roland's name should be. All other players on the suspension list are named.

Cory Emsley, president of the league, said Roland was not named because league officials felt "nervous about the repercussions" of naming him.

Cameron said there are typically two fights or so a month.

"The suspensions are pretty hefty," he said.

"The hotheads will fight once a year and then that will be it because they don't want to be suspended for five games," he said.

Milkowski said he didn't realize it was the premier until someone told him, adding Roland had a size advantage in the tilt but was "a little longer in the tooth."

Roland said he wishes he could play more hockey.

"When I get out there, I play hockey and I just take the chance to be who I was before I got into this line of work," he said.