The hockey world tends to be very clubby, which is why the latest news about Sarnia Sting coach-GM Jacques Beaulieu and his 20-year-old son, Montreal Canadiens playoff call-up Nathan Beaulieu, each facing assault charges is so shocking.
It goes without saying that all of sport cultivates and rewards aggressive, dominant personalities, which can very into occasional ugliness (that being said, sports is overall a vessel for good in the world). Usually, though, cooler heads can prevail and disagreements can be worked out privately. In this case, it's come to light that the "dust-up" that led to charges against the Beaulieus involved a player whom Jacques Beaulieu has coached. Again, there must be an assumption of innocence until proven guilty. The very fact a former player of the elder Beaulieu, someone still closely involved to the tight-knit hockey world, went to the police, jumps off the screen.
From Jennifer O'Brien (@OBrienatLFPress)
"There's two victims and (Jacques and Nathan Beaulieu) are each charged with one count of assault against each victim," said Deputy Chief Mark Campbell.
... The incident occurred after a golf tournament in the area, Campbell said.
"The evidence presented is that there was a disagreement which resulted in an altercation against the first victim. That victim then left, and there was a second altercation which resulted in the second being assaulted."
Both men were attacked by two men, police said. One of the men was coached by the older Beaulieu.
The injuries were minor, but both men were scared, said Campbell. (London Free Press)
Due process rules over all, of course. There are certainly numerous people whom Jacques Beaulieu has worked with through coaching stops in London, Saint John and Sarnia who sing his praises for his ability to teach and evaluate talent. Speaking a general sense, though, coaching 16- to 20-year-old players — bearing in mind it's not known how old the complaints are now — ideally involves building relationships founded on an inviolable trust between a young players and a mentor figure. There are two sides to this, of course, but needless to say, it is a delicate spot for the Sting.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.