Nearly three years after allegedly participating in an illegal grizzly bear hunt, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner pled guilty to some of the charges brought against him.
On Wednesday, Stoner, via his lawyer, admitted "that he had breached the provincial Wildlife Act. Marvin Stern said his client mistakenly believed he was qualified to participate," via Tamsyn Burgmann of the Canadian Press.
As a result, Stoner was banned from hunting for three years and ordered to pay $10,000.
According to CBC, Stoner was charged with two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license in British Columbia, Canada, and he also faces counts of "hunting out of season, hunting without a license and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife."
Per Larry Pynn of the Vancouver Sun, charges were brought against the 30-year-old blueliner in September. They came two years after a photo surfaced showing Stoner holding up the head of a dead grizzly bear, according to Mike Halford of Pro Hockey Talk (articles contain graphic images).
When asked about the situation back in 2013, Stoner acknowledged shooting a bear but did not admit to any wrongdoing, per the Province (h/t Halford):
I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors. I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my license while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.
I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.
According to Pynn, authorities argued that Stoner did not meet the hunting requirements of spending at least six months out of the year in British Columbia, thus making him ineligible for the license.
Stoner is a seven-year NHL veteran in the midst of his second season with the Ducks after spending his first five with the Minnesota Wild.
The former third-round pick has registered 43 points in 331 career regular-season games, and he has put up four points in 35 contests so far this season.
It is unclear what type of impact Stoner's reported guilty plea will have on his ability to continue playing for the Ducks either in terms of potential jail time or a suspension handed down by the organization or the NHL.
Stoner is a bottom-pairing defenseman who often shuffles in and out of the lineup, so while a potential absence wouldn't be devastating to the Ducks, it would certainly test their depth.
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