Petition to ban rioting Maple Ridge teen from Olympics

Nathan Kotylak has been suspended from the junior national water polo team, for some people that's not enough

Repeatedly identified after this picture taken on June 15 surfaced online

Repeatedly identified after this picture taken on June 15 surfaced online

A petition has been started to ban a Maple Ridge teen, caught on camera trying to lit a police car on fire during Stanley Cup riot, from competing in the Olympics.

The online petition and Facebook group “100,000 strong to ban Nathan Kotylak from the Canada Olympic team” call for the Canadian Olympic committee to impose a five-year ban on the 17-year-old for his part in the June 15 riot that erupted after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins.

“Nathan’s actions during the Vancouver riots do not represent Canadian values, and because of that he should not represent Canada at the Olympics or on the world stage,” said Shelly Comeon, a former Vancouver resident who now lives in Montreal and started the petition.

Comeon isn’t swayed by Kotylak’s public apology or the fact that the star athlete has already received a provisional suspension from Canada’s junior national water polo team.

She points out that Kotylak only came forward to apologize and claim responsibility for his actions after he was identified by others who recognized him from videos and photographs on the Internet, showing him holding a flame to a shirt stuffed in the gas tank of a police car.

“A simple apology is not enough in a situation like this,” said Comeon.

“It will take a lot more than sorry to make up for the embarrassment and disappointment he has caused the entire country, and missing the Olympics should be a part of that process.”

Like other rioters identified, Kotylak was viciously attacked and threatened online. His cell phone number and home address were posted on several blogs and Facebook pages.

Kotylak’s lawyer, Bart Findlay, said the threats forced the family to leave their Maple Ridge home.

Kotylak’s father Greg, a surgeon at Ridge Meadows Hospital, had to close his office, as well.