With 8:01 left in the third period of their 1-0 loss Friday to Texas in North Richland Hills, Killer Bees forward Aaron Boogaard punched freelance photographer Robert Keith, setting off an ugly scene at the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Keith was stationed between the teams’ benches and was exchanging verbal barbs all game with Bees forward Brady Leavold. In the third, Leavold put his stick in front of Keith’s lens to block his view. Keith then grabbed Leavold’s stick, leading to Boogaard coming in and punching the photographer twice on top of his head.
Boogaard was unavailable for comment.
Keith said he isn’t planning on filing any charges against Boogaard. He also isn’t holding any grudges against Boogaard or Leavold, but will shoot tonight’s game from the arena’s press box.
“This is just unfortunate. I think Boogaard made a poor judgment choice. I shouldn’t have been there, I shouldn’t have chirped back,” Keith said. “I kind of feel it was a self-defense thing. I just didn’t want the stick hitting my camera. I didn’t want it hitting me in the face. Maybe (Leavold) was just screwing around, tempers flare with stuff like that.
“I hold no grudge against Boogaard.”
After that, Boogaard was given an unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct for the incident. That wasn’t the end of it, however, as Bees coach Terry Ruskowski said a cowbell was thrown at their bench and that a drink was spilled on him.
Ruskowski said he told a linesman about the situation between the benches earlier in the game and thought it would be taken care of before it escalated.
It wasn’t, and it culminated in what happened in the third period.
“If we’re in trouble so is (Texas) because the lack of security,” Ruskowski said.
When reached for comment, Brahmas president Mike Barack said “I’ve seen a lot of things in hockey over many, many years and this is one of the crazier things I’ve witnessed.”
The teams play again tonight.
Brian Sandalow covers the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for Valley Freedom Newspapers. You can reach him at (956) 683-4436 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.