October 9, 2015 4:19 pm
Updated: October 9, 2015 9:47 pm

‘He’s a role model for kids’: Protesters speak out after NHL player kills grizzly bear

WATCH: Animal rights activists turn up at a Vancouver court hearing for NHL player Clayton Stoner, as he's accused of illegally killing a grizzly bear. As Linda Aylesworth reports, the group wants new rules in place against trophy hunting.

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About 12 protesters showed up outside provincial court in Vancouver on Friday ahead of a court date for a NHL player.

Clayton Stoner, who is from Port McNeil and plays for the Anaheim Ducks, has been charged after killing a grizzly bear in B.C. in 2013.

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“Today we’re here to hear a case that is the epitome of trophy hunting in this province,” said Barb Murray from the group Bears Matter. “For one thing, he’s a resident of B.C., actually it turns out he might be a non-resident, but he was born and brought up in Port McNeill. He lived beside the First Nations. He travelled the coast, in a boat, by foot. He says he loves coming out here and hunting and fishing. But trophy killing resembles nothing to what I grew up with in Prince George.”

“He makes millions of dollars and he’s a role model for millions of kids. I don’t get it.”

Stoner shot the bear two years ago in the Kwatna River Estuary, just east of Bella Bella.

The five-year-old bear was nicknamed ‘Cheeky’ by local field technicians, after getting shot by Stoner, was left to rot in a field in the estuary.

Stoner does not deny shooting the bear and made a statement two years ago when a picture was released online of him holding the severed head of the grizzly.

“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” said his statement.

“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.”

Clayton Stoner has confirmed he is the person holding up the head of the grizzly bear in this photo.

However, he has now been charged with five offences under the Wildlife Act, including hunting without a license and hunting out of season.

Stoner is accused of falsely being a B.C. resident as he plays professional hockey in the United States.

Under the B.C. Wildlife Act a B.C. resident is defined as:

A person who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, and whose only or primary residence is in British Columbia and who has been physically present in BC for the greater portion of each of 6 calendar months out of the 12 calendar months immediately before doing a thing under the Wildlife Act, or if not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, but whose only or primary residence is in British Columbia, and has been physically present in BC for the greater portion of each of the 12 calendar months immediately before doing a thing under the Wildlife Act.

However, two of his charges are for knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license.

His court case has been put over until Nov. 13.

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