U.S. hockey players cause 3,000 dlrs damage at apartments

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) on Friday deplored the behavior of U.S. ice hockey team members who trashed three apartments at the Olympic Village and caused an estimated 3,000 dollars worth of damage.

Nagano Olympic organizing committee (NAOC) spokesman Ko Yamaguchi said the U.S. Olympic delegation has agreed to pay for the damage caused by the rampage, which took place Thursday, lasting from about 2:30 a.m. until 4 a.m.

''The USOC and our Olympic delegation are deeply disturbed by the behavior of some of our athletes,'' USOC President Bill Hybl said in a statement.

Members of the U.S. hockey team, all stars in the National Hockey League (NHL), vandalized their apartments after losing to the Czech Republic 4-1 on Wednesday in the knock-out round of the men's ice hockey tournament.

Yamaguchi said the Americans threw six chairs and one fire extinguisher out the window of one or more of their fifth floor apartments, punched holes in the walls and left dents in a door during the 90-minute tumult.

In addition to the chairs and the fire extinguisher that were thrown from the apartments, two fire extinguishers and four chairs were also left damaged in the three apartments in which the athletes were staying, he said.

Yamaguchi said the damage assessment was conducted jointly by NAOC and USOC officials.

No one was injured by the vandalism, he said.

Members of the U.S. ice hockey team left the Olympic Village on Thursday and early Friday to return to the United States and Canada.

USA Hockey, a national organization which represents American hockey players, along with the NHL and the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) have apologized to the USOC and stated they will be carrying out investigations in the weeks ahead.

''This is an unfortunate incident and one that we deeply regret,'' said USA Hockey Executive Director David Ogrean in a statement.

''We believe only a handful of individuals were involved.

Nevertheless, we will work with the NHL and the NHLPA in an effort to determine exactly who is responsible,'' he said.

''Obviously such conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,'' NHL Commissioner Gary Brettman said in a statement released in New York.

In a separate incident, a Canadian bobsleigher was injured in the Village Wednesday evening by broken glass from a window pane that fell from the sixth floor of an apartment, according to the Olympic Village's venue manager Kanichi Ogushi.

NAOC would not disclose the identities of the occupants of the sixth-floor room, and no information was available concerning the source of the glass that struck the Canadian athlete, Matt Hindle.

Hindle, a member of the Canadian bobsleigh team, was cut in the left shoulder and was given five stitches by doctors.

The building from which the glass fell was the same one in which the American hockey team was staying. The Americans were staying on the fifth floor. (Kyodo News)

(February 20, 1998)