During a British Columbia Hockey League game on Saturday, Vernon Vipers forward TJ Dumonceaux did a bad, bad thing that he might regret for a very, very long time.
With 5½ minutes left in the third period, an all-out skirmish broke out along a half-wall between the Vipers and the Prince George Spruce Kings. Dumonceaux paired off with Prince George's Christian Weidauer. Linesman Ryan Dawson moved in between them to separate the players. Dumonceaux, who had his head down, tried to punch Weidauer, but instead decked Dawson, bloodying the official.
It was a mistake, but it's a very bad one that should lead to the 19-year-old Dumonceaux being suspended. Striking an official is a cardinal sin. It's an occupational hazard, but this seemed exceptionally bad.
Dawson reported that he needed stitches at a hospital emergency room.
— Ryan Dawson (@daddeo87) November 10, 2013
Dawson was bloodied by Dumonceaux's punch (YouTube)Dumonceaux was ejected with a misconduct and game misconduct. His Vipers actually rallied for two late goals to earn a 4-4 tie. Based on experience, one can imagine the Kelowna, B.C. , native feels pretty chagrined that swinging his left fist blindly connected with the wrong kisser. In this context, swinging blindly and striking an opposing player right in the beak is perfectly normal.
The BCHL and other Junior A circuits within the Canadian Junior Hockey League have voted to punish fighting with an automatic game misconduct, starting next season. It's not known how the fighting abolitionists or apologists will interpret this unfortunate, regrettable incident. Perhaps a good scrap could have released all that pent-up tension far earlier. Or making fighting an automatic ejection will just lead to more skirmishes with gloved punches.
All of those arguments will miss the point, but c'est la vie. A player throwing a punch with the risk of hitting a game official can be interpreted to show a lack of regard for the sportsmanship sports is supposed to develop within young Canadians. The BCHL would be justified if it wanted to make an example of Dumonceaux, especially since it needs to be accountable to its officials.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com.