Clayton Stoner turns the puck over against Chicago in an April game at Xcel Energy Center
Minnesota Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner is at the center of a controversy over the shooting of a grizzly bear in an off-limits area last spring in his native Canada.
The Vancouver Sun has published photos of Stoner posing with the head and paw of the bear he shot last May on the coast of British Columbia.
Coastal First Nations, a group of aboriginals that declared an unofficial ban on trophy hunting in the Kwatna Estuary, said the grizzly was "skinned and left to rot in a field."
The 28-year-old player now also in the cross-hairs of the environmental group, which released a 20-minute documentary inspired by Stoner's hunt.
In the film, the group rebukes the NHL starter for leaving the carcass of a 5-year-old grizzly some had nicknamed Cheeky.
For decades, the late spring hunt has been an emotional issue for those who want to protect the bears. Coastal First Nations members say it isn't fair to hunt bears in an area where they are used to being studied and interacting with humans.
The Canadian government is looking into whether the hunt may have violated the Wildlife Act. It also estimates that there are 15,000 grizzlies in the province as well as between 120,000 and 160,000 black bears.
CLAYTON STONER STATEMENT
"I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors. 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."