Puck Naked: Idaho team punished for 'strip hockey'

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - October 27, 2009

As redress for last Wednesday's incident, Boise forbid the Idaho Junior Steelheads team from using Idaho Ice World for four days; one 17-year-old player who shed his underwear briefly was suspended until next week. In addition, police are investigating, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Doug Holloway, Boise's recreation superintendent, says rink employees told him the shootout drill went like this: "If they missed a shot, they had to take off a glove. If they missed another, they had to take off another glove. And so on, and so forth."

An adult whose young daughter was on an adjacent rink saw the 17- to 20-year-old Steelheads skating in their skivvies and complained to a city hotline.

Rink employees who also noticed the scantily clad skaters urged them to cover up.

Police who were alerted on Thursday are now looking into whether Boise's public decency laws were broken by the incident. "The investigation is pending," said Boise Police Department spokeswoman Lynn Hightower.

The city forbids people from showing their buttocks in public, largely to curb erotic dance parlors. Exemptions include dance, ballet, music or dramatic performances, or artistic displays; nudity during hockey practice isn't on the list.

John Olver, the Idaho Junior Steelheads owner, wasn't at the practice where the players held the "strip shootout."

But an assistant told him the players were emulating a professional team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose members held a similar shootout last week where they discarded pieces of equipment after failing to score.

Internet videos show a Lightning right winger, Martin St. Louis, stripping to his long, dark shorts and shirt; the Junior Steelheads apparently went further, with some disrobing down to their sports briefs. At least one 17-year-old player doffed his underwear completely, to "moon" another player.

That teen was also punished by the team, Olver said.

"His behavior didn't live up to our player code of conduct," said Olver, whose squad plays in the Western States Hockey League against opponents from Arizona and California.

The Junior Steelheads' suspension from Ice World ends Wednesday, when the team will be allowed to return.

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