Dozens of COVID-19 fines possible after police bust illegal hockey game at Laval arena

Dozens of people may face hefty fines after gathering to play hockey at an arena in Laval Sunday night.

Chakib Yahiaoui was walking his dog Sunday night at around 8 p.m. in the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul district when something caught his eye at the Coliseé de Laval.

“There were lots of cars parked here outside,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one who noticed. Another citizen reported the suspected gathering to police.

“We received a call around 8 o’clock from someone who was saying that there were a lot of cars in the parking lot of Colisée de laval,” Laval Police spokesperson Stephanie Beshara told Global News.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Quebec updates curfew exemptions to include dog walking

On December 30, Premier François Legault announced indoor sports are not allowed to operate in Quebec for now, as the province tries to stem the tide of omicron.

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When police arrived, Beshara said they noticed lights were on inside, but the door was locked.

“The police tried to open the door, but the door was closed,” Yahiaoui said.

Beshara said officers could hear that people were inside.

“They waited maybe 45 minutes, then someone came out of the Colisée,” she said.

Once police managed to get access, they found 37 people inside.

“Some of them had wet hair. Some of them had hockey bags,” said Beshara.

Both adults and minors were flouting government rules. According to police, some tried to hide in bathrooms and locker rooms.

“They knew that they were not doing the right thing, so they didn’t want the police officers to see them,” she said.

READ MORE: Quebec sees COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 2,500, another 26 new deaths

Officers identified all 37 people and sent a report to the crown prosecutors office. The prosecutors will decide if any of those present will be hit with fines between $1,000 and $6,000.

“It’s not a thing to do right now, with all the cases we have,” said Yahiaoui.  “People were probably stuck together not wearing masks.”
with all the cases we have right now.

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Beshara says people should respect the province’s rules.

“It’s pretty sad to see that people are continuing doing stuff like this when a lot of people trying to stay home and protect themselves,” she told Global News.

Nobody answered the phone at the arena when global news called on Monday.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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