Skip to main content

Fighting fan at Winnipeg Jets game given house arrest sentence


A man involved in a fight at a Winnipeg Jets game last year that was caught on camera and shared online has been handed a punishment for his involvement.

On July 25, a Winnipeg provincial court heard that Taylor Howell and his then-girlfriend Sumerlyn McCulloch, went with friends to watch the Jets take on the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 29, 2022, celebrating Howell's birthday.

Court heard the couple were drinking doubles and gathering drinks under their seats and had been warned twice by security, before being asked to leave on the third complaint.

That's when the situation took a turn, Crown prosecutor Terry McComb said, noting McCulloch became aggressive with a female security staff member, which was followed by Howell fighting the male security guard.

Court heard that Howell head-butted and punched the security guard in the face, while McCulloch bit the other security guard.

Video also shows people in the stands stepping in, with one person putting Howell in a headlock. After a struggle, the two fell down some stairs, with the man hitting his head on the edge of the boards.

McComb said the man had a three-inch laceration on the back of his neck that required six staples.

When police arrived, McComb said the pair became combative and Howell would not give his hands to police for cuffing, saying he was, "belligerent and swearing and yelling."

Police were eventually able to get Howell up the stairs into the concourse at Canada Life Centre, but continued to struggle and McComb said he dropped to "dead weight" and would need four officers to restrain him.

Both security guards were injured; the man had a bruised and swollen head and face, as well as a bloody nose, a headache and a twisted knee. Meanwhile, the female security guard had her skin broken from being bitten and went on stress leave. A police officer also injured their arm in the incident.

"(They) created a very unsafe environment for everyone because at that point in time, all security, all crowd management officers, attended to that scene," said McComb.

Defence lawyer Jason Stitt told the court Howell became defensive after security reached across him to grab his girlfriend.

Since the incident, he said Howell has had to deal with losing McCulloch as his girlfriend, he was almost let go from his job and he was kicked out of the home he was renting.

As well, he has been ridiculed online by people who have watched the video.

"The public has been nothing but harsh toward him and obviously do not understand where he was coming from," Stitt said.

Judge Brent Stewart gave Howell a 15-month conditional sentence, which included a six-month absolute curfew, and he is to do 20 hours of community service.

Stewart said what happened was not appropriate.

"I don't take this as minor," said Stewart. "I suspect with this type of action, there was a significant amount of impairment or this gentleman is just very angry."

Howell addressed the judge, saying he takes responsibility for his violent actions, but noted he is being made to look like an animal.

"Making me sound like a pretty bad person, which I'm not. There are a lot of details that make me sound so much worse," said Howell.

He said there was no warning by security to be kicked out and that one of the security guards yanked on McCulloch's arm.

"There was a point there that I was actually screaming for help. I was so scared and terrified."

He feels he could have handled the situation better and it easily could have been him who fell down the stairs.

He added he wasn't "obliterated" and was having a fun time with his friends before everything unfolded.

McCulloch was also charged in the incident and she is scheduled for court at a later date. Top Stories

Stay Connected