Sioux Fan In Coma After Post Game Fight

(left) Peter Chwialkowski was arrested for alledgely punching a North Dakota hockey fan after the game on Friday night

From: Grand Forks Herald
by Stephan Lee

An altercation between fans Friday night after the Sioux-Gopher hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena on the University of North Dakota’s campus led to one man being hospitalized in serious condition and another jailed on serious charges.

According to UND Police Chief Duane Czapiewski, Peter Chwialkowski, 28, Oslo, Minn., was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Friday after the altercation at UND and is in the jail Sunday awaiting an initial court appearance today on a felony charge of aggravated assault.

Chwialkowski (pronounced “Fee-a-koski”) apparently is a 2004 graduate of UND, originally from the Argyle, Minn., area.

The man injured in the altercation, Jason Smith, 34, Grand Forks, was in serious condition in the intensive care unit of Altru Hospital Sunday, a nursing supervisor said.

UND beat the University of Minnesota Gophers 4-0 on Friday night.

According to Smith’s father, Jason Smith and his brother, Aaron Smith, both Sioux fans, were leaving the arena Friday after the game when Jason was “sucker-punched” by a fan.

Czapiewski said Chwialkowski remained at the scene on the northeast side of the REA until UND police officers arrived and arrested him without incident. The investigation continues, and more witnesses are being interviewed, but Chwialkowski was arrested on suspicion that he punched Smith, who was unconscious on the ground when police arrived, Czapiewski said. People who were with Chwialkowski were wearing clothing indicating they were Gopher fans, Czapiewski said.

According to Jason Smith’s father, John Smith, Grand Forks, the altercation involved four men, according to his son, Aaron Smith, who was involved.

The confrontation began with an unidentified man pushing Aaron Smith, after the two exchanged words over the game, said John Smith.

Aaron Smith, “who is on crutches because he had knee surgery, made a comment to this guy, something to the effect that the Gophers better bring their ‘A’ game tomorrow night,” John Smith said. “So, this guy shoves my son who is on crutches. Jason steps in, and there was a shove, and then this guy, the friend of the guy who shoved Aaron, sucker-punched Jason.”

The man who punched Jason Smith was Peter Chwialkowski, John Smith said.

Jason Smith fell and hit his head on the pavement, seriously injuring his skull, John Smith said.

“He’s still in an induced coma. He fractured his skull.”

“He’s got 16 plates in his skull, and 63 screws. Right now, they are weaning him off the sedation, so he’s popping in and out. But he has no idea where he is.”

The scans of his son’s brain “look pretty good,” and show no permanent brain damage, John Smith said.

Czapiewski said Chwialkowski will appear in state district court today in Grand Forks on the felony charge. How much Smith recovers might affect the possible sentence Chwialkowski could face if he is convicted.

In North Dakota law, aggravated assault is a Class C felony, with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, unless the victim suffers permanent damage to an organ or his body, in which case aggravated assault can be charged as a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years.

No one else has been arrested in the incident, but the investigation isn’t complete, the police chief said.

Separately, more than 17 people were cited by UND police Friday and Saturday night for being minors consuming alcohol in connection with the two hockey games, Czapiewski said.


William Joseph said...

Typical and sad.

dggoddard said...

The NFL has just instituted a code of conduct for fans aimed at curbing unruly behavior, especially for those who get too buzzed, outside and inside the stadium.

Among other things, the policy bans drunkenness, behavior that is disruptive or illegal, harassment of fans from the visiting team and foul or abusive language and gestures.

Well publicized incidents at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands prompted the action. One included a multimillion dollar lawsuit award, still under appeal, after an inebriated Giants fan was involved in a traffic accident that paralyzed a little girl.

Anonymous said...

Typical of what?

Anonymous said...

Some decent journalism for a change. Just the facts and no bullshit snide remarks. You can be taught.

Anonymous said...

I hate to see these kinds of things. I hope he has a full and speedy recovery.

No matter what was said, there is no place for those kinds of actions at games.

Robert said...

YES!! There is 2 sides 2 every story and from now on I will never believe what the media says until I see what the courts decide!! And since I was there and it is one of my best friends husband in trouble...I KNOW side #2!! His wife is 12 wks pregnant, completely sober and saw the whole thing!! But did they put any of our side in the ... Read Morepaper NO!! A hear say from the dad, from the son who started the whole fight is what is published!!! Maybe they should puclish something from someone that was acutal there!! The guy on crutches came up to our gopher fan friend and started heckling him about the game and how they needed to bring their "A" game tomorrow. Our friend "patted" the guys shoulder and said "yep buddy we played shitty tonight and hope they do bring their "A" game tomorrow. This guys brother, the victim, then came over to start a fight thinking gopher fan friend was "pushing" his brother in which he wasn't!! Pete then tried to mediate the fight and get them away from each other. The victim then backed Pete away from his brother and our friend and started throwing punches at Pete and he in self defense punched back and the victim fell backwards and unfortunately hit his head on concrete. I agree that fighting was not the right move but when someone punches you not once but twice, what do you do? Instinct is usually self defense to fight back. This whole story is very unfortunate and we feel for the victim and hope he recovers well. But I will continue to also pray for Pete and his family as Pete is a family man and a very well educated one that means well to all. HE IS AN AWESOME FRIEND!!!!
... Read More
Now that some of you can see and hear the 2nd side to the story, I hope you can take all of this into consideration b4 you decide to judge others or the situation.... Read Mor
4 hours ago

Anonymous said...

Pete Chwialkowski is the nicest guy in the world. people need to learn the truth. Peter your an amazing person!

dggoddard said...

Sounds like there were a lot of witnesses, so that should help get to the bottom of this.

Pretty weak of the GF Herald to only quote one source who wasn't even an eyewitness.

It now looks like the GF Herald has edited the story online and removed the comments from the father. Not sure if the original story appeared in print.

Anonymous said...

Hah- anon 3:56 this is a blog. Not the Times. The authors are completely entitled to type whatever they want under no mandate for your journalistic requirements.

Anonymous said...

I cant wait until all the story comes out. If it wasnt Peter, I would have reacted the same way as a lot of you are who dont know him... "What a JE*K." But those of us who actually know him know that he is NOT like that at all. He is the friendliest person you would ever meet and the last person you would ever think would get caught up into something like this. Some people turn mean when they drink, THAT IS NOT PETER though, no matter how much he drinks... I cant wait for the truth to come out and bet anyone that the other guy is not a "nice guy" when he drinks. That being said, I agree, it is not right to fight, especially over something so petty as sport teams and what jersey someone is wearing. Did we fail to mention that Pete has both a grad and undergrad from UND, so he is far from anti-Sioux.
I hope that this man heals quickly. But I also dont think it is right for a paper to tell a story from someone who wasnt there and attempt to assassinate the character of a decent man who would never go over and "sucker punch" ANYONE.

Anonymous said...

dear peter you're so nice.

i don't think there's any doubt that dear peter cranked some dude so hard that said dude is now in a coma. Yeah ... Peter sounds like a helluva nice guy.

coma dude shouldn't have run his mouth when his cranium is made of glass. punchy-pete should have hit one of the shit talkers that wasn't on crutches.

and robert should not be on the internet saying anything about it.

lesson #1 to be learned here is that there is always someone who can kick your ass no matter who you are. choose to talk shit to strangers and you could end up in an ambulance. lesson #2 is peter should be putting big bad muscles to use silencing idiots going around the internet defending him. buck up peter and take your medicine. you blasted some idiot. it probably felt good. face the music and tell your friends to shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

If what is being said is true some of you should post your version or this info over on the site under the forums as it sounds like pete is not a gopher fan like they think and was just trying to stop a fight. Very sad situation. lets just all pray this turns out ok for both parties involved.

Anonymous said...

I hope the victim is OK; but now lets pray the jackass who chose to swing his fist gets nailed by the law and pays dearly.

Anonymous said...

Does Pete have any wounds or bruises from the two alleged punches the victim landed on him? He sure looks fine in his mug shot.

Also in regard to this statement posted earlier "I cant wait for the truth to come out and bet anyone that the other guy [victim] is not a "nice guy" when he drinks" Jason Smith is a nice guy when he drinks, he is always a nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Can't you monitor the comment section so that you don't have someone like 7:16 (likely a 14 year old, passive-agressive, sexually confused mommy's boy) posting where virtually every sentence has "shit" or "fuck" in it?

dggoddard said...

I probably could delete it, but then I'd have to delete yours.

If anyone is offended by foul language you should probably follow college hockey on

This is obviously a sensitive subject and there are people and families that are being affected greatly by this tragedy. Please be respectful of them.

Hopefully people will read this article and comments and maybe it will prevent future incidents.

Carry on. :-)

Twister said...

Sad story. Hopefully the authorities sort it out and the appropriate punishments are doled out.

My only comment is this: is it just me or every year does fan behavior get worse and worse? Angry drunks yelling obscenities, aggressive behavior towards opposing fans, it's really sad. Good natured trash talk and ribbing is fine, but some of the stuff that goes on these days is appalling. Punks that get gooned and then look for fights with opposing fans should be arrested and banned for 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Nope, not offended by cursing in any way, shape, or form. I curse a blue streak - just ask my former teammates, players and my family.

Appears at first blush to be a tragic accident. Prosecutor still interviewing material witnesses and determining whether to file charges. There will be a civil suit regardless.

I agree that hopefully this is a wakeup call that hockey is only a game. Don't take it too seriously.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Jason Smith is listed as the victim is because he lost the fight. Loser would be a more accurate term. Sounds as if the Gopher fans were not only running their mouths in the Sioux arena but they threw the first punch. Sorry the kid is hurt but he is a loser not a victim.

Anonymous said...

How do you know Sioux fans threw the first punch?

Anonymous said...

If Jason Smith was drunk and throwing punches at a pregnant woman, he is the villain not a victim.

Anonymous said...

Of course Peter's friends are going to say he's a nice guy and it's self defense...they're his friends. We have to wait until this gets to court. My thoughts are with Jason and I hope he makes a full recovery.

Fighting is never the answer, no matter who hits first or second.

Anonymous said...

hummmm.... looks like the truth finally came out here. I think the Grand Forks Herald owes Mr. Chwialkowski a huge apology for running an article on hear say and spreading its spin on this story without the facts. He should turn around and sue the paper for slander and the poor "sucker punched" guy for sucker punching HIM first. I feel bad that that guy had to go through surgery and rehab; but drunken idiots get no pitty from me. Ridiculous!

That's why the papers are all failing. You can't believe anything you read anymore.

dggoddard said...

Thanks for posting article link.

Anonymous said...

Funny that there's no more talk after this article...wonder why? Any thoughts?