I don’t blame the Calgary Flames for being upset with the dude (or dudette) who kept using a green laser pointer to, presumably, try and distract the Flames last night – it was a douchey thing to do. But before the hockey world starts to condemn the Canucks and GM Place staff for failing to apprehend the culprit, it’s worth noting that arena staff tried – albeit with no success – to find him. After talking to a couple of friends who worked the game last night, they made it clear that GM Place staff were on the lookout since the laser pointer was first noticed.
The Flames’ trainer apparently first became aware of the laser pointer in the first period after he first spotted the green dot on Jamie Lundmark. The trainer brought it to the attention of arena security and arena security immediately radioed all security personnel to look out for it. Soon after that first call, the Flames saw the green dot on Mikka Kiprusoff and talked to arena security again. At that point security personnel still had no idea where it was coming from, though they were apparently in constant communication each other and with the Flames bench. With more than 18,000 fans in the building, you can imagine how difficult it would be to find the individual with the laser pointer.
The problem persisted in the third period, and understandably, Brent Sutter and the Flames got increasingly upset and irate. Another call went out to all arena security that this was a huge concern. By now, arena hosts and security were all looking for the culprit.
During a TV timeout during the third period, Bill McCreary talked to arena security and security advised that they were all trying to find the laser pointer. Security was advised that the Canucks may be assessed a minor penalty. Brent Sutter also asked McCreary if an announcement could be made asking fans to refrain from using the laser pointer – however, no announcement was made.
Shortly after, the visitors room attendant said that a fan texted him saying that the pointer was in the vicinity of section 116. About the same time, HNIC crew said that they had caught it on the camera behind Kipper’s goal and that the laser pointer was coming from the lower end of section 116, though they couldn’t determine the exact location. Additional security was immediately dispatched and the in-house camera was focused in the area. Once arena security was present in the area, the laser pointing stopped.
NHL Security did say that if the individual was caught, he/she would be arrested for mischief, or assault if Kipper had suffered an eye injury from the laser; unfortunately, the idiot was never found.
The GM Place Code of Conduct does specifically mention that laser pointers are not allowed in the arena. I remember when I used to work there that the use of laser pointers was very much prevalent during Grizzlies games. But while staff were all aware of it, it was always a challenge to locate the responsible individual.
It still is.