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Hockey Player Banned for Life

December 30, 1997

LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) _ Left wing Gary Coupal of the Muskegon Fury was banned for life by the United Hockey League Tuesday for throwing his broken stick into the stands.

Coupal was penalized for spearing toward the end of a game Sunday against the Quad City Mallards at Moline, Ill.

League commissioner Richard Brosal said Coupal argued the penalty, earning a 10-minute misconduct. As a linesman was leading him off the ice, Coupal broke his fiberglass stick over his knee, then threw it into the crowd, Brosal said.

The stick, which remained intact, didn’t hit anyone. ``The intent was there whether anyone was hit or not,″ Brosal said.

``We can’t put our players or officials in harm’s way, let alone our fans,″ Brosal said. ``This reckless behavior will not be condoned and tolerated in the league.″

In 25 games this season, Coupal had seven goals, five assists and 101 penalty minutes. Brosal said Coupal had not previously been disciplined by the league for other misconduct.

The Double-A league is affiliated with the NHL. Some of the 10 teams have direct ties to NHL clubs, but others, like the Fury, do not.

Calls to the Fury’s office in Muskegon were not immediately returned. There was no phone listing for Coupal in the Muskegon area.

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