Five people have been charged with mischief after barging into a Creston Valley Thunder Cats game without masks and encouraging others to come inside.
On Saturday, Jan. 22, the five men ignored security at the Creston and District Community Complex (CDCC) without showing vaccine passports or tickets to the hockey game.
Once inside the Johnny Bucyk Arena, the men started opening locked doors of the building to let in other trespassers from outside.
“The rec centre staff called us and asked for some assistance because they no longer wanted these people inside their building,” said Cpl. Evan Diachok, Creston RCMP.
“There was a large group of 20-to-30 people, but it seemed to be these five main guys causing the issue.”
CDCC staff and a few civilians stepped in to try to stop the rest of the people from getting into the building before the RCMP arrived.
“We tried to get the five individuals to peacefully leave multiple times, but they refused,” said Diachok. “They said we would have to physically drag them out. They were expecting to get some kind of COVID-19 related tickets because they were unvaccinated and not wearing face masks.”
All Regional District of Central Kootenay facilities, including the CDCC, follow public health orders and require vaccine passports for entry.
“At that point, our officers removed the five men under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, since the (Johnny Bucyk Arena) is a licensed establishment,” said Diachok. “The staff at the rec centre can ask anyone to leave if they are not behaving, just like at any bar like Jimmy’s Pub.”
The five men were transported back to the police station, where they were soon released under the condition to not return to the arena.
“Obviously, COVID-19 is a hot button issue. But for us, it actually had nothing to do with COVID,” said Diachok. “It’s the fact that staff at the rec centre asked them to leave, and they didn’t. That gives us, the police, the authority to remove them.”