Son of Flyers GM Daniel Brière deeply regrets pushing the wheelchair down the stairs
The son of former Gatineau, Que. hockey great Daniel Brière says he is “deeply sorry” after he was caught on camera pushing a wheelchair down a flight of stairs.
The incident involving Carson Brière, an ice hockey player at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, happened at a bar over the weekend.
In widely shared surveillance camera video, the younger Brière can be seen chatting with another person at the top of a narrow flight of stairs next to an unoccupied wheelchair.
Brière briefly sits in the chair, stands up, and then pushes it down the stairs before returning to the bar’s packed dance floor.
“I am deeply sorry for my behavior on Saturday,” Brière wrote in a statement. “There is no excuse for my actions and I will do whatever it takes to make up for this serious lack of judgement.”
Actions “inexcusable,” says father
Daniel Brière has 696 regular season points over his 17-year NHL career and has played at Buffalo, Phoenix, Montreal, Colorado and Philadelphia.
After ending his NHL career in 2015, he moved into front office positions and just this month was named interim general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I was shocked to see Carson’s actions in the video shared on social media yesterday,” the elder Brière wrote in his own statement.
“They are inexcusable and totally go against our family’s values of treating people with respect. Carson is deeply sorry and takes full responsibility for his behavior.”
I don’t think an apology is enough. – Sally Thomas, accessibility advocate and wheelchair user in Ottawa
Sally Thomas, an accessibility advocate in Ottawa, said that as a daily wheelchair user, just hearing about the incident made her feel hurt.
“When you use a wheelchair … that becomes part of your identity,” she said. “Throwing my wheelchair down the stairs means throwing me down the stairs.”
The financial impact can also be significant: even a basic wheelchair costs at least $12,000, and depending on the damage, it can take weeks or months to repair.
“You can get a car, a car that runs decently, for the price of a wheelchair,” she said. “I don’t think an apology is enough.”
In a tweet, Mercyhurst University said so learned of the “disturbing” incident on Tuesday and that both the Bureau of Student Conduct and the Police and Security Departments were investigating.
The private Roman Catholic university issued a more detailed statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying it heard a “considerable outcry” from people and the video footage “[made] our hearts are heavy.”
“We pray for and stand in solidarity with the victim and all persons with disabilities who rightly find actions like this deeply offensive,” the statement said.
“Our Mercy tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make bad decisions deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviors and atone for harmful actions.”