A 26-year-old London man has expressed remorse for throwing a banana at a black player during last Thursday’s pre-season NHL game at the John Labatt Centre, police said Wednesday.

Christopher Moorhouse was identified late Tuesday as the person responsible for the incident that garnered international media attention, Police Chief Brad Duncan said. He has been charged with engaging in prohibited activity on premises under the provincial Trespass to Property Act. If convicted, he faces up to a $2,000 fine.

The incident, which involved Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, did not meet the threshold for a hate crime charge, Duncan said. For that, officials would need to prove Moorhouse’s actions were “motivated by hatred,” the chief said.

A criminal charge of mischief was ruled out, Duncan said, partly because game play was not interrupted when the banana landed on the ice. The incident occurred when Simmonds was the first shooter in the shootout of Philadelphia’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Despite the banana toss, Simmonds scored on Detroit goalie Jordan Pearce.

 

Moorhouse has retained a lawyer and has given an explanation for his actions, Duncan said. The explanation is not being made public at this time.

Duncan made a public appeal that Moorhouse be given due process and warned against acts of “vigilantism.”

“We don’t want individuals to go beyond what the court would do,” Duncan said.

Officials at the John Labatt Centre have not commented on whether or not Moorhouse will be allowed to attend future events at the venue.

“We have zero tolerance when it comes to this type of foolish behaviour,” Comcast-Spectacor president and Global Spectrum chairman Peter Luukko said in a statement.

“We will not tolerate it at the John Labatt Centre, nor any of the other facilities we manage.”

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