MONTREAL - Shawinigan Cataractes defenceman Dillon Donnelly has apologized for damaging the Memorial Cup and said it was an accident.
But the son of former NHL rearguard Gord Donnelly will be billed for the repairs by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
The 19-year-old Colorado Avalanche prospect sent a message on Twitter on Tuesday that said: ''Breaking the Memorial Cup was an accident. I picked it up, lost my balance and dropped it. There was no intention to break. I'm sorry.''
The junior hockey championship trophy looked like a wreck in pictures published this week. The metal cup at the top was bashed in and the wooden base was cracked.
Each player on the championship team is allowed 24 hours to celebrate with the Cup at home, provided the team takes out a $50,000 in insurance against damages.
Cataractes general manager Martin Mondou said Donnelly will have to pay.
''You have to be responsible for your behaviour,'' he said.
Mondou had not yet spoken to Donnelly about the damages, but said the issue ''will be resolved between us, the league and the kid. Nobody else.''
Two figurines of hockey players on either side of the cup were missing, but they fell off long before Donnelly had the trophy on July 13 in Montreal.
Pictures of the team being presented the Cup following their victory on home ice in the final against the London Knights in May showed the trophy without one of the figurines.
Mondou said the figurines came off twice during the presentation.
The Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella group for the three Canadian-based major junior leagues, has asked that the Cup be returned immediately to Toronto for repairs.
Some Cataractes players who had not yet had their day with the Cup will miss their turn, said Photi Sotiropoulos, spokesman for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He said the team is held responsible for the Cup, not any individual players.
The original 1919 Memorial Cup is kept permanently at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The damaged one is a replica, but can cost thousands of dollars to repair when badly damaged.
And damaging the trophy is frowned on by junior hockey officials.
QMJHL president Gilles Courteau issued a statement Monday that said ''The Memorial Cup was donated in 1919 to honour Canada's war fallen. It is unfortunate and deplorable to see it in such a state. The damages that were caused will be billed to the team.''
Donnelly, drafted 183rd overall by Colorado in 2011, is expected to return to the Cataractes for the 2012-13 season.