Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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James Engquist: "I was assaulted, that’s just the bottom line"

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: October 20, 2010 - 4:42 PM

Good afternoon from Edmonton.

Just got off the phone with 28-year-old James Engquist from Mendota Heights. He is the fan who Canucks forward Rick Rypien grabbed last night as he was leaving the ice. Rypien has since been suspended pending an in-person hearing with the NHL (believed to be Friday), meaning he will likely receive a hefty suspension.

Engquist attended the Wild-Vancouver game with his brother, Peter, getting seats directly behind the visitors' bench as a gift from their father: "I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out. He was out of control. And then I said, 'Way to be professional,' and he obviously didn’t care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail. If my brother wasn’t grabbing me and the other player wasn't grabbing him, he probably would have dragged me over the edge."

Engquist did not hear from the NHL brass as of 4:30 p.m. CT, however he called the Xcel Energy Center operations department and they put him in touch with NHL Security. He gave a statement a little bit ago.

"This is a crazy incident. I’ve seen a lot of hockey in my day, and I’ve never seen someone actually come into the stands and assault a fan," said Engquist.

Engquist said he is "definitely seeking legal representation. ... I was assaulted, that's just the bottom line."

Engquist said he didn't receive an apology from the league, Rypien or the Canucks. He said he hasn't heard anything from the Wild.

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