Vicious and high-handed: Former Kelowna Rocket has to pay for assault at party - InfoNews

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Vicious and high-handed: Former Kelowna Rocket has to pay for assault at party

Former Kelowna Rockets centre Ryan Olsen has to pay $34,000 to a man he assaulted at a house party in the Lower Mainland.
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March 28, 2018 - 5:18 PM

KELOWNA – An assault at a party will cost a former Kelowna Rocket hockey player more than $34,000.

Ryan Olsen, a former centre for the Kelowna Rockets, was 23 years old on July 16, 2017 when, according to a recently released court decision, he was at a house party in the Lower Mainland andmet Liam Griffin, a 19-year-old college student who also grew up in the area and played hockey. 

Griffin testified he saw Olsen, who had recently been drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, pushing a young female who was was "saying no."

“Olsen was pushing the female away from the area of the house. Griffin and his friend said “hey” to get Olsen’s attention and have him stop pushing,” Judge Thomas Gove says in the decision. “Olsen said, “I am a professional hockey player. I make more money than you ever will. Let me do my thing.”  

Olsen then punched Griffin in the face, knocking him unconscious.

“As he hit the ground his head struck the concrete,” Gove says. “Apparently, Olsen then knocked Griffin’s friend to the ground before leaving.”

Griffin did not regain consciousness until the next day, spent days in hospital, sustained a concussion, a large cut to his right forehead requiring stitches, a cut to his left cheek requiring stitches, scrapes to his elbow and back, and injuries to his neck, back and leg.

He was unable to work for the balance of the summer of 2016 and described the pain in his head, even with pain medication, as “brutal.” 

Gove called Olsen's actions “harsh, reprehensible, vicious and high-handed,” but that wasn’t the last time Griffin would be threatened by Olsen.

Five weeks after the assault, the two men bumped into each other in downtown Vancouver.

“Olsen approached him and said, “I’ll do it again. Go ahead and take my money - I have loads of it,” Gove writes.

Although he claimed self defence in a written statement, Olsen didn’t appear at hearings Aug. 2, 2017 and Feb. 5, 2018, so the entirety of the testimony comes from Griffin and his father.

“Olsen was entirely responsible for the assault on Griffin,” Gove writes. “The conduct was deliberate in that he followed Griffin and his friend with the intent to strike them; which he did. His statements such as “Let me do my thing,” show an attitude of entitlement. His statement to Liam five weeks after the incident - “I’ll do it again. Go ahead and take my money - I have loads of it” - show a lack of remorse, no acceptance of responsibility and demonstrate clearly that he has not been deterred. His failure to attend any of the court proceedings or advise that he did not intend to attend shows his attitude to this incident and process.”

Gove granted Griffin a default judgment of $34,406 in damages.

Olsen played centre two seasons for the Kelowna Rockets between 2012 to 2014.

Olsen was drafted in the sixth round by the Winnipeg Jets and spent time on two East Coast hockey league teams this year between a short stint in Europe.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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