Father Was Shot and Killed in Shootout With RCMP

Published on December 17th, 2023 6:13 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

A joyful hockey night that turned tragic in Northern British Colombia, Canada. If you were watching the Vancouver Canucks play the California Golden Seals on December 12th, 1970, and if you were located in Northern British Columbia, there is a good chance that the feed was cut for you during the game and the transmission went dark.

This wasn't some random technical difficulty - in fact, the cutting of the feed was due to a hostage situation that was taking place in a TV station in Prince George, British Columbia.


Brian "Spinner" Spencer was the 55th overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1969 entry draft.

On December 12th, 1970, Spencer telephoned his father, Roy, with some big news - he would be playing on "Hockey Night in Canada" that evening, and he was going to be interviewed between periods.

Roy Spencer was intensely proud of his son, and he made plans to host a party for his family and friends to watch the game. Roy was going to watch his son play with the likes of Darryl Sittler and Bobby Hull - a dream come true.

Roy and the rest of the party-goers were baffled when CKPG, the CBC affiliate that was located about 160 kilometres away in Prince George, started showing the Canucks/Golden Seals game instead.

Roy was furious - showing two terrible expansion teams instead of Chicago vs Toronto? There was no Youtube back in those days - if Roy couldn't see his son's interview on TV, he'd probably never see it.

Roy wasn't about to sit back and take this quietly.

After making a phone call to the television station, Roy Spencer grabbed his gun, hopped in the car and started driving for Prince George.


Roughly two hours later, a newsman at the Prince George station, Tom Haertel, entered the offices followed by a man with a gun - Roy Spencer.

Show the Maple Leafs game! Roy Spencer screamed.

Spencer gathered up a number of hostages and demanded to be taken to where the TV operations were taking place.

After being told that they didn't have a feed for the Maple Leafs game, Spencer demanded that the Canucks/Golden Seals game be taken off the air.

If you aren't going to show the Maple Leafs game, he said, you aren't going to show anything.

For the people watching the Canucks/Golden Seals game in Northern British Colombia, the transmission suddenly went dead as the people at the TV station complied.


During this commotion, somebody had called the police, who now had the building surrounded.

Spencer decided to step outside and was engaged by the police who told him to drop his weapon.

Spencer had military training and decided that he wasn't going to be taken alive, so he dropped down and started firing.


The legend goes that around the time that Roy Spencer was drawing his last breath, his son, Brian Spencer, was being interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada.

Brian Spencer went on to have a decent career in the NHL, as he played for a decade in the league.

After retiring, his life went sideways, and he was killed in a drug-related robbery at the age of 38.

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