The ongoing saga of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner and the grizzly bear named Cheeky has reached a turning point.
Stoner faces five charges for a 2013 grizzly bear hunt in British Columbia, which includes knowingly making false statements about his residency to acquire a hunting license. That accounts for two of his charges. The others are “hunting out of season, hunting without a license and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife,” says the CBC.
According to a report in the CBC, Stoner was expected to enter a guilty plea in a Vancouver court on Friday. Stoner and his lawyer were not present at his court case and chose instead to enter a plea through a “legal articling student who appeared on behalf of Stoner’s lawyer.” Stoner is not legally required to be present.
Conservationists and First Nations leaders have been vocally upset with the defenseman, protesting Ducks games and requesting a public apology for manipulating the system to participate in a trophy hunt on First Nations lands.
A resolution isn’t expected soon according to prosecutor Jim Cryder, who said, “It takes time to negotiate things and have agreement. It’s a slow process.”
The outrage over the hunt began after a photo surfaced online of the then Minnesota Wild defenseman holding the severed head of the bear.
At that time, he released a statement through Minnesota Wild PR that said, “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.”
Animal rights protestors are hoping to end trophy hunting in the area and are using Stoner’s notoriety to highlight their case. The actual case against Stoner revolves entirely around the fact that he misrepresented his residency to acquire the license.