Hard to buy into the notion that minor hockey is wholesome and wonderful after seeing footage of an ugly incident in Winnipeg last weekend that police are investigating.
(Warning: NSFW language.)
As Global Winnipeg is reporting, during a game at Southdale Community Centre in Winnipeg involving a team from Sagkeeng First Nation, a scuffle broke out between the players during what had already been a testy game between 12-year-old players. With parents screeching in the background, two players began to exchange punches, with one referee "going down to the ice with one of the young players." Immediately after the boy was tackled — police confirmed he was injured — a man came off the team bench and tussled with the referee. Others came in to break it up, but Global's report said the hostilities resumed off-ice after the game.
Anyone still think that Respect In Sport courses for hockey parents are unnecessary?
One can only maintain that hockey is too good of a game to be ruined by idiocy for so long. A more condemning personality might say the idiocy of this moment is an inextricable part of the game, but keep in mind we don't know all the details of what built up to the incident in what was apparently an exhibition game since the game reportedly "wasn’t under the auspices of Hockey Winnipeg or Hockey Manitoba."
One can fault the official for mishandling the younger, smaller player. But given the abuse minor hockey officials are often subjected to, what standard of officiating do you expect?
The timing is uncanny. Hockey Winnipeg just last week announced that hockey parents, at least one in each household with a child registered, an online Respect in Sport course before their daughter or son can take the ice. Some knee-jerkers have howled, predictably, that the $12 course won't deter any of the powder-keg parents and that it's more likely than not the more level-headed co-head of the household will end up taking the course.
It might help with emboldening the parents and relatives who don't cause trouble to police boorish behaviour before the actual police are involved. There's no knowing how the atmosphere inside the arena, with the screaming parents, didn't feed the players' frenzy, creating a vicious cycle.
Those courses might have a cash-grab element. But it's worth noting that Susan Sherring, an Ottawa Sun columnist who's a long-time minor hockey volunteer, expressed support.
[Most parents] understand everyone needs to be on the same page.
But unfortunately, there are a handful of parents who just won't see it that way.
Can't you just hear the shrieks of horror?
But that shriek is nothing compared to the horrendous yells, screams and verbal and physical threats that a very small minority of hockey parents apparently believe is acceptable behaviour at their kids' hockey games. (Ottawa Sun, Feb. 7)
It's shame it has to come to this; the video evidence doesn't tell the whole story, but it sure provides a telling picture.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: Alex Pieper).