Schremp denies hitting spectator

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

London forward Rob Schremp has been accused of hitting a fan with his stick following the Knights 3-2 loss to Kitchener at the Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday.

Schremp, 19, who scored both London goals in the last-minute defeat, was captured on TV cameras at the end of the game standing near the visiting team exit and poking his stick through the protective glass.

The Rangers fielded several e-mails and phone calls about the incident yesterday. Many have claimed Schremp, who is expected to star for the United States at the world junior hockey championship in Vancouver later this month, made contact with a patron.

Schremp refutes those claims.

"I was waiting at the end of the rink to give the guys a high-five -- I'm always the last off the ice -- and I was spit on," Schremp said yesterday.

"That's the first time that's ever happened and you don't expect it.

"I didn't intend to hit anybody. I was just pointing out the guy who spit on me to the usher with my stick."

Rangers chief operating officer Steve Bienkowski said his team is a tenant of the city-run Memorial Auditorium, so all incident reports are filed by the City of Kitchener.

"I understand there's an incident report coming and it goes on to the league (the OHL) so they can do their investigation," he said.

The OHL has a zero- tolerance policy regarding player and fan interaction and will have to determine by today whether Schremp merits a suspension since the Knights face Saginaw in their Teddy Bear Toss game tonight at the John Labatt Centre.

The high-flying forward has a familiar home and road routine of hanging out in the exit area and handing pucks to kids in the crowd after warmups, intermissions and games.

"After the game, the puck was in our end and (Kitchener captain Mark) Fraser wanted it, so I shot it down the ice to him," Schremp said. "The fans were booing. They boo everything there."

A visibly upset Schremp dressed and left the arena quickly after the final buzzer.

"It was tough for us to lose in the final 30 seconds like that," he said. "We thought we played a smart road game and we just came up short."

While they wait for a decision on Schremp, the Knights will have to contend with the loss of slick forward Sergei Kostitsyn, who left yesterday for Belarus to compete for the host country at the world junior hockey B pool championships.

Forward Robbie Drummond would be a candidate to replace Kostitsyn on the league's top power play, but he's day-to-day with a leg injury suffered Wednesday. Knights trainer Don Brankley had to be careful as he dodged flying teddy bears on his way to treat Drummond, who was hurt during Kitchener's first goal.

"Guys like Robbie, Josh (Beaulieu) and I know we have to step up and score some goals," London forward Trevor Kell said. "Hopefully, there will be some power play time there and we'll be able to deliver."

KNIGHTWATCH

Tonight: vs. Saginaw, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre. It's Teddy Bear Toss night with every fan encouraged to throw a stuffed toy for charity onto the ice after London's first goal.

Sunday: vs. Guelph, 7 p.m. at the JLC. The game was moved from a 2 p.m. start to accommodate Rogers Sportsnet, which has picked up the contest and will air it live on TV.


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