Police looking into possible violations

Updated: October 28, 2009, 11:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

BOISE, Idaho -- An Idaho junior hockey team was banished temporarily from a city ice rink after players engaged in a game of "strip hockey" -- shedding a piece of equipment every time a practice shot missed its mark.

As redress for last Wednesday's incident, the Idaho Junior Steelheads team was forbidden by the city of Boise from using Idaho Ice World for four days, and 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.

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 the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose members held a similar shootout last week, when they discarded pieces of equipment after failing to score.

Lightning left wing Ryan Malone and center Jeff Halpern organized their game to inspire team bonding and "lighten the mood," Malone said.

Internet videos show forward Martin St. Louis as the final victim, losing his helmet, elbow pads, gloves, jersey, both leg pads, both skates, his leggings and socks before finally finishing one off. He had to attempt one shot with just one skate on, then took his final shots while wearing sandals from the locker room.

The Junior Steelheads apparently went further, with some disrobing down to their sports briefs.

Police are looking into whether Boise's public decency laws were broken by the incident.

"The investigation is pending," Boise Police Department spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said.

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. Partial nudity during hockey practice apparently isn't on the list.

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 will be allowed to return to the Ice World rink Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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