Another day, another instance of the minor hockey experience gone horribly asunder.
On Sunday, following the semifinal game at the Prince Edward Island midget boys AA championship, a brawl broke out between the defeated Sherwood Falcons (in white) and victorious Tignish Aces (in black) during the player-of-the-game award presentations. It's possible this could be pinned on whoever was responsible for playing Swedish House Mafia's Don't You Worry Child over the arena sound system, since maybe some players were taking the band's breakup really hard.
It's either that or teenage boys couldn't handle a season-ending loss.
YouTube poster Jason Rayner writes the fracas was precipitated when "3 players from the Falcons crossed center ice and charged at the Aces, resulting in a total brawl of both teams."
Ninety to 95 per cent of what comes with being involved in minor hockey is wonderful, for those who can afford it, of course. Then there's incidents such as these and the brawl in the stands during a bantam game in Tweed, Ont., that are cause to wonder what the purpose is at this level of sport. Such poor sportspersonship puts the lie to the concept it's about inculcating character and values. The players who fought also acted like they felt there would be no serious consequences to live down.
Law enforcement has higher priorities than policing hockey games, but as APTN reporter Kenneth Jackson (@afixedaddress) noted regarding the throwdown in Tweed, it's odd the police investigate the brawl on the stands but not one that happened on the ice. Perhaps that needs to chance to keep such assaults from happening over and over. Players who are lined up on the blueline for a formal presentation, as was apparently the case here, are not giving consent to fight.
I think this is a good argument. There's a brawl on ice and it's ok but there is one in the stands and police are investigating.
— Kenneth Jackson (@afixedaddress) March 25, 2013
There will probably been sanctions and suspensions from Hockey PEI. That might not be a deterrent to the next group of coddled punks and their coaches who don't have control of their team.
One might wonder if this traces back to the reality there's too much emphasis placed on winning in minor hockey from an early age. Children who are good enough for rep hockey aren't always taught that perspective, so they know nothing else by the time they become teens who have hair-trigger tempers, thanks to hormones. Grudges can also build up since the same groups of boys can end up playing against each other for a decade, rather than playing in a setting that stresses learning skills until they're old enough to choose to pursue competitive hockey (as in Sweden, which on a per-capita basis is kicking ass at developing talent).
Maybe why you sometimes see this mentality among young players that now that their season's over, they should try to sink the chances of the team which advanced. Tignish went on to lose 4-0 in the final to South Shore, so mission accomplished.
(Stick tap: Bob's Blitz.)
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.