Canadian Football League

Monday, May 14, 2007

Canadian Football League player attacked

A former Saskatchewan Huskies' football player who is now with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers is in hospital with a serious head injury after an assault outside a Saskatoon restaurant and bar early Saturday.
Graeme Bell, and three other Saskatoon men, were taken to hospital after being assaulted by a man with a baseball bat, police said.
Staff Sgt. John Middleton said police officers arrived within two minutes of receiving the 2:20 a.m. call to attend outside the Athena restaurant in the Sutherland area.
The suspect had already left the scene.
Police have interviewed several witnesses and have a suspect -- a Saskatoon man, who they are attempting to locate.
"This is a really hard time for the family because we don't know the outcome yet for Graeme," Jennifer Bell, Graeme's sister, said Sunday at Royal University Hospital.
"This was a tragic, isolated event. We still think Saskatoon is a great place to live. Our thoughts go out to all the other people who had injuries in this."
Bell, who rushed back from Calgary after hearing the news, said her brother is in stable condition.
She said witnesses have told her family that Graeme had left the Athena to get a taxi when the perpetrator surprised him with a blow to the head. He was at the restaurant visiting with a friend from out of town, Jennifer Bell said. The family believes the event was random.
Mike Letendre, general manager of the nearby Sutherland Hotel and Bar and a friend of Bell's, says he rushed to the scene from the Sutherland off-sale after it happened. He described the scene as "chaos," and said there were more than 20 witnesses.
He said the Sutherland has had problems with the suspect before. He heard several witnesses confirm the suspect's identity to police.
One of the other victims is a Huskies' football player. He was not with Bell at the time.
He said he didn't see the blow coming when an attacker blind-sided him with a bat and knocked him unconscious.
The man, who did not want to be identified, spent the night in hospital and is recovering from a concussion at home.
Bell, 25, was a standout player for the Saskatoon Huskies, the Saskatoon Hilltops and the Walter Murray Marauders. He signed with the Blue Bombers as a free agent in 2005 after attending training camp with the Montreal Alouettes. He was a key member of the Huskies' Vanier Cup runs in 2002 and 2004.
Bell works in the off-season doing promotions work for Saskatoon's Senator Hotel and helps out with several local football programs.


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