Two relatives of a Canadian youth hockey player reportedly assaulted a referee during a Rosedale Minor Hockey Association game last month, leading to protests, suspensions and a veiled investigation by city officials in Hamilton, Ontario.
On Feb. 17, at the end of a game between the Kings and Panthers, linesman John Tluczek broke up a tussle between two teams made up of kids aged 15-17. Next thing he knew, two adults approached him on the ice. In a cell phone video obtained by CBC Hamilton, which reported the incident in great detail, a man is shown clearly attacking Tluczek.
“I've never seen anything like it,” the lontime referee told CBC. “I had to jump in there and break it up. Then all of a sudden grandpa and the mother are on the ice.”
Somehow, the details and quotes from the story grow even more bizarre and incredible.
Rosedale Arena officials called the police, but no charges were filed, according to the report. Based on Hamilton's Zero Tolerance Policy, the man in the video should be banned from city property for at least two months, but the city refused to say whether or not disciplinary action has or ever will be taken following its investigation.
“I don't care what's going on -- unless it's something terrible, you don't come on the ice,” Rosedale Minor Hockey Association president Dan Rosser told CBC. “It's ridiculous. Referees don't get paid enough to get treated like this.”
On the night of the incident, the fight and police involvement extended the game by almost 30 minutes, according to the report, so when the ensuing youth matchup between the Sabres and Nordiques ran up against the arena's curfew, referees called it quits early in the third period. However, some parents told their kids to stay on the ice in protest.
“Holding the association hostage is probably not the best way to make your point,” added Rosser, who suspended the protesting Nordiques players and ultimately ended the team's season. “That's life. It isn't always going to go smoothly.”
Nordiques coach Norm Jackson and parents of the effected kids took their protest to the city, but guess what? Hamilton officials won't comment on those proceedings, either.
“I have one case already where one of my kids wants to try out for high school hockey but can't, because he could be arrested if he enters a city run rink,” Jackson told CBC. “This kid has not had his meeting yet, but has already been presumed guilty -- as are the remainder of the kids that have been named.”
Let's get this straight: A man physically attacked a referee during a youth hockey game, and no charges were filed; meanwhile, a teenager peacefully protested a separate curfew shortened game, and he faces arrest if he tries out for his high school hockey team?
Makes perfect sense. At least one person has his head on straight in this entire scenario: RMHA referee-in-chief Joe Lampkin is pushing for a code of conduct that might prevent future incidents from getting this confusing.
“Some of the behavior and the way we are treated is unbelievable for house league hockey,” Lampkin told CBC. “I'm not sure of any job where you can show up and drag someone out from behind their desk or heckle them at their door.”