Canadians plead not guilty in U.S. flag swap

Two Canadian men have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanour charges relating to the desecration of an American flag in La Quinta, Calif.

Police arrested 25-year-old Ryan Smith and 26-year-old Matt Siefert after Canada's gold medal hockey win over the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics in February.

They allegedly took down an American flag atop a mountain and replaced it with a Canadian flag after watching the game in a bar.

The U.S. flag — later found torn and damaged — was placed on the mountain by a citizen to honour victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Local television station KPSP reports on its website that Siefert and Smith told court they didn't mean any disrespect.

The two were released on their own recognizance and will appear in court again in late June for a pretrial hearing. If convicted, they could face up to a year in jail.