Police siren

A Canadian professional lacrosse player, the brother of two National Hockey League players, was charged this week with battery after police said he punched three men outside a UW campus-area bar last summer, knocking one of them unconscious.

Rory Smith, 30, of Etobicoke, Ontario, was in Madison on July 14 for the wedding that weekend of his brother, New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith, a former Wisconsin Badgers player, when the incident happened outside the Kollege Klub, 529 N. Lake St., Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.

According to a criminal complaint, Rory Smith was identified by police through video surveillance taken both outside and inside the bar, combined with a bar tab paid by Smith’s other brother, Reilly Smith, who plays for the Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL expansion team in its first season.

Rory Smith, who is charged with one count of felony battery and two counts of misdemeanor battery, was ordered to appear in Dane County Circuit Court on Nov. 30. Court records do not list an attorney for him yet.

According to the complaint:

Three men, identified in the complaint only by their initials, told police that they had just left the Kollege Klub and were standing outside when a man, later identified as Rory Smith, approached and “squared up” on them for no reason. One of the men told police that he told Smith, “We are not trying to fight you.”

Smith then punched one of the three, causing him to fall, then hit the other two men, knocking one of them unconscious. One of the men said Smith then told them, “Don’t (expletive) with me ever again” before walking away.

The man who was knocked out told police that he doesn’t remember the incident, only getting up from the ground afterward.

Another of the men said he and his friends had gone outside for a cigarette when Smith, who was with two older people, started insulting him and his friends. He said he yelled back at Smith.

City of Madison street surveillance video showed that during the incident, Smith removed his shirt, and that one of the victims also removed his shirt as the two of them postured.

During the incident, an older woman tried to stop Smith, but he pushed her aside.

Using video taken inside the bar, police were able to associate the man involved in the fight with a bar tab opened and closed by Reilly Smith. Detective Joel Peterson, checking Reilly Smith’s background, saw that he has two brothers, and from the surveillance images, identified Rory Smith as the one involved in the incident outside the bar.

Brendan Smith played for Wisconsin from 2007 to 2010 and is in his first season with the Rangers after six seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Reilly Smith, in his seventh NHL season, is the Golden Knights’ second-leading scorer.

Rory Smith has a reputation as an “enforcer” in professional lacrosse, most recently with the Vancouver Stealth of the National Lacrosse League. In 2010, while playing for Orlando, he set the league’s single-season record for penalty minutes, according to the NLL media guide.


Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.