OTTAWA – Water Polo Canada announced Tuesday that a two year ban has been placed on Maple Ridge resident Nathan Kotylak, barring him from representing Canada in any National Team program until June 2013 due to his participation in the Vancouver riots.
In a press release made public on Tuesday, Water Polo Canada stated that “A Water Polo Canada (WPC) Discipline Panel has imposed a two-year ban against Nathan Kotylak, 18, of Maple Ridge, B.C. The ban will prevent the athlete’s participation in representing Canada in any National Team program until June 2013. The Panel has also declared Mr. Kotylak ineligible to be nominated to receive Sport Canada funding for a two-year period.”
The ban will also see Kotylak unable to reapply for membership with Water Polo Canada for a one year term ending in June 2013, and requires him to repay any athlete assistance funding from Sport Canada received after June 16th, 2011.
UPDATE: Facebook group calls for extradition of Nathan Kotylak
The ruling followed a hearing held on Friday September 16th, 2011 during which the Discipline Panel received arguments from legal counsel representing Water Polo Canada and Mr. Kotylak, who was present at that particular hearing, but has since fled to United States while still under investigation by the Vancouver Police Department.
“It has also come to our attention that [the] athlete in question is attending a USA based school,” said Water Polo Canada President Ahmed El-Awadi Monday “we are not aware of any scholarships, we are not in communication with that school and we have no further information.’
The initial outrage over Nathan Kotylak’s actions on June 15th led to a tearful television appearance on June 18th in which Kotylak waived his right of anonymity as a young offender and made apologies to nearly every person he had met in his life, every athlete he had competed with or cheered for and every athletic organization or agency he had admired or been part of. He wanted everyone to know he was “sorry”, but many were only swayed to an even more polarized position and moved towards further action.
As the Kotylak family fled from threats of harm to property and person, online groups assembled en mass and began producing video and photographic evidence depicting a string of fires, incitement and an alleged assault against a female, all perpetrated by Nathan Kotylak.
Ex girlfriends publicly waxed and waned in their contempt and support of the 17-year-old on Facebook, while across the online waters hundreds began signing their names to a petition calling for Kotylak’s dreams of Olympic glory to be dashed.
Denouncement of groups mobilized in opposition to Kotylak’s alleged riot spree reached across national borders when a resounding “thumbs down” was delivered via Twitter by famed film critic Roger Ebert, who in his own words labeled some involved as a “lynch mob.”
The unofficiated ultimate dodge ball match between “Pro Nathan” and “Pro Canadian Values” groups went into a forced half-time break when a former Canadian Olympic Champion stepped into the middle of the fight and called for cooler heads to prevail and moderate minds to step forward.
Canadian Olympic Gold Medal rower Adam Kreek drew reflexive and immediate fire from news outlets and online groups when he asked in a special editorial for the Vancouver Sun that citizens across Canada not deny Kotylak, or any troubled youth for that matter, the opportunity to draw from the life long benefits that he feels sport can offer in both developing and first world countries alike.
A telephone news conference has been scheduled for today at 2PM in Ottawa.
Background on the disciplinary panel
On June 17th, 2011, the WPC’s Discipline Committee Chair, Conrad Hadubiak, invoked his authority to issue a provisional suspension against Mr. Kotylak who was prohibited from participating in any WPC activities pending the results of an independent investigation and the formal Discipline Panel hearing.
Mr. Hadubiak also ordered Mr. El-Awadi to source an independent investigation that was carried out by the Centre for Sport and Law. The Centre’s report was considered as part of the Discipline Panel’s review.
The Discipline Panel, chaired by Mr. Hadubiak, also included:
Brian Johnson – former national team swimmer and former President of Swimming Canada. He is a lawyer residing in Vancouver;
John McIntyre – Vancouver-based lawyer with both criminal and civil experience. He is also a member of the Canadian Sport Anti-doping Review Board; and
Don West – a Senior Partner in the Toronto law firm of Aird and Berlis. Mr. West has extensive experience in discipline-related hearings impacting high performance athletes.
Water Polo Canada’s Code of Conduct policy can be found on Page 38 of the organization’s Board Policies: www.waterpolo.ca/governance.aspx.
Water Polo Canada is the National Sport Organization and governing body for the Sport of Water Polo in Canada. It manages the National and Olympic Teams as well as the domestic development plan.
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