HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Teen's Suicide Linked To Hockey Suspension For Pot
Pubdate: Tue, 26 Nov 2002
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Province
Author: Steve Berry and Ian Austin
Note: With file from David Wylie


The coroner's service is investigating the suicide of a 15-year-old hockey 
player -- apparently after he was told he was being suspended by his team 
for possessing marijuana.

The Kelowna youngster was found hanged in a Surrey motel late Saturday 
night. His midget hockey team was playing an exhibition game in Surrey over 
the weekend.

The boy's death has sent shock waves through Kelowna schools where he had 
many friends, said school superintendent Ron Rubadeau.

"We have our critical-incident teams literally in every one of our 
secondary and middle schools dealing with the kids," Rubadeau said yesterday.

It has been a difficult few days, he said.

"[The teen] had a wide circle of friends. This team was not from any one 
school, but from many schools. It's been difficult for the schools. I'm 
sure it's been devastating for the hockey community."

The boy was an average student who showed no signs of being in distress at 
his school, Rutland Senior Secondary.

"We checked through our records in the last 24 hours and we have no notes 
relative to any depression-related issues," said Rubadeau.

"What may have happened relative to the hockey issue, we have no idea, but 
there was nothing remarkable relative to school."

Students and parents received a letter from the school yesterday.

"It is with profound regret that I inform you that we have suffered a 
tragedy at our school," writes principal Hugh Gloster.

"On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 23, one of our Grade 10 students died 
suddenly and unexpectedly. The student was in Vancouver with his midget 
hockey team at the time the incident happened. While we are waiting for 
conformation from the authorities involved, it appears the student took his 
own life."

Don Evans, president of Kelowna Minor Hockey, said little yesterday.

"At this time, out of respect for the family, I'm not going to comment on 
this. We're trying to get through this the best we can right now," Evans said.

A source told The Province the youth had been found with marijuana in his 
hotel room and had been told he was being taken off the team. Evans would 
not comment on the league's policy on drug use.

BCTV on Global reported that two players had been caught smoking dope and 
sent back to their hotel room, threatened with suspension. Later, when one 
did not come out of the bathroom, the coach was called.

The dead youth was said to be an only child.

Fraser region coroner Marj Paonessa said she is looking into the death and 
would hold either an inquest, complete with jury, or an inquiry of her own.
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