With the news that Rick Rypien has been suspended six games for grabbing a fan in Minnesota comes a report that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has reached out to the fan that was involved in the altercation.
According to a report from Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Bettman phoned James Engquist on Friday morning to apologize for the event that took place on Tuesday.
Engquist told Russo about the Bettman call. "He said, 'Sorry about the events, and players should never ever put their hands on a fan.' He said he'd like to offer me tickets to a game and dinner, and I thought that was very nice of him," explained Engquist. "I mean, what do you say at that point? You're talking to the commissioner of the NHL. I thought it was really respectful for him to give me a call. He's a very classy man."
According to Russo's report, Engquist has not received apologies from either the Canucks or Rypien himself.
"In a real-world situation, at my job, if you were to do what that person did in your job place, I think minimally what would happen – minimally – you would be fired," Engquist told Russo. "And this is Mr. Rypien's career, this is his job, he's being paid to represent the NHL, and they feel to take a two-week break off without pay and come back to work is satisfactory. But as far as the real world goes, that person would be held accountable as far as the law and just as a company in general, that person would probably be fired."
Rypien's agent, Allain Roy, was a guest on Off The Record with Michael Landsberg on Friday, and discussed the suspension that was handed to his client.
"It was hard to put a number on (the number of games in the suspension)," Roy told Landsberg. "You look at the history of the league, and some of these events have happened in the last 30 years. I was trying to figure out what the league was going to look at, but they didn't share that with us - the thought process. It was an unfortunate event, and the player knows that it shouldn't have happened, and the league took swift action."
Roy also discussed the reputation that Rypien has built around the league.
"If you look at Rick's career and his history, and I have had him as a client since he played in junior, he's very well respected by his peers, his teammates, the fans, so there's nothing there that (would have) indicated that this would have happened. It's not the first time in pro sports that there's a heat-of-the-moment exchange. The fortunate thing is that he realized what was going on and didn't push it any further," said Roy.