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Former Wild player faces charges for killing grizzly bear in Canada

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In the latest high-profile animal killing involving Minnesota, a former Wild hockey player is facing charges over the death of a well-known bear in Canada.

The Vancouver Sun reports Clayton Stoner, now of the Anaheim Ducks, faces five charges related to the illegal killing of a grizzly bear called "Cheeky" in May 2013, when he was with the Wild.

The bear, which is said to be "beloved by aboriginals" on British Columbia's central coast, was killed, beheaded, and de-pawed, with Stoner at one point pictured with the animal's head.

He has been charged with two counts of making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, one count of hunting without a license, one count of hunting wildlife out of season, and one count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife. He will appear in court on Oct. 9, the newspaper notes.

Deadspin reports the bear's killing prompted the creation of the anti-trophy hunting film "Bear Witness," which explains the story behind Cheeky.

The killing bears hallmarks of another recent trophy hunting controversy that sparked wide condemnation of Minnesota hunter and dentist Dr. Walter Palmer, who killed a famous, black-maned lion named Cecil on a hunt in Zimbabwe.

CBS Sports reports in Stoner's case, the main reason for the charges is the British Columbia native was living in Minnesota when the killing occurred, meaning he hadn't stayed in the province for the time needed before he could get his own hunting license.

In order to have gone hunting for the grizzly, he would have needed to pay for a licensed guide-outfitter. The area where the bear died had also been designated off-limits to trophy hunting by the First Nations people, albeit this ban is not recognized by the local government, the website notes.

When the killing of the bear was first reported in 2013, The Bleacher Report says the NHL defenseman released the following statement: "I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors. I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia."

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