Smoking hockey stars dodge punishment

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER — Members of Canada's gold medal-winning women's hockey team broke local anti-smoking laws in their post-win celebration, but they're unlikely to be disciplined.

Players, still wearing uniforms and medals, lit cigars on the ice and drank beer and sparkling wine after beating the United States in the 2-0 final. Smoking is banned at indoor public venues and patios and within six metres of doors, air vents and windows in the 2010 Winter Olympic host city.

Public health official Domenic Losito said one e-mail complaint was received.

"While the complainant has urged us to process charges against the offenders‚ it is unlikely that we will because we would be challenged with identifying them, issuing them violation tickets, and successfully prosecuting them should they contest those tickets, given that most of them will have left town by Monday," Losito said.

Losito also chided the Canadian women's team for the example they're setting by smoking.

"I think there's a poignant contrast between the message that (ex-smoker) Clara Hughes is providing and the mixed message that our victorious women's hockey team sent last night after the game, with the arena lights dim and the crowds gone," Losito said.

The 2010 Games are officially tobacco-free, but VANOC bowed to pressure from European media and dignitaries and set-up designated smoking areas at venues.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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