October 22, 2012
No, this is just an isolated incident, and not a sign that every hockey parent takes their child's minor hockey career too seriously. It is a serious isolated incident, taking place in a Saguenay region midget house league game Saturday night.
The Québec Ice Hockey Federation brought down the hammer on three players and two coaches who instigated a brawl between the Chicoutimi Cougars and Jonquière Pumas, suspending all five indefinitely before sending out a release that the federation has a zero tolerance policy on acts of violence.
Video obtained by the CBC's French-language service shows a fight involving several players in the final seconds of a Saturday game between the Chicoutimi Cougars and the Jonquière Pumas.
A referee trying to break up the fight was knocked down and players are shown striking him while he was down.
With players fighting near the Jonquière bench, coach André Harvey throws a punch that appears to strike a 16-year-old Chicoutimi player in the head. [CBC]
The video itself is mostly silent, but you can see the coach strike down the player closest to the bench, who turns out to be Chicoutimi's #25. It does look like the coach grazes his own player and the referee with his blow. Unfortunately, the game sheet posted online is completely blank for now, so all we have to go on is the video (if not embedded on your browser, there's an embed in the CBC link):
QMI has some further detail on the referees report:
The referee's report, obtained by QMI Agency, said a player from the Chicoutimi Cougars tried to jump over the bench of the Jonquiere Pumas.
An assistant coach tried to grab the player in question, before holding onto the teen's stick.
That's when the Pumas head coach came over and punched him in the head, the report said.
The coach of the player who was punched said his rival crossed the line.
"We're talking about a man in his forties doing something like that to a 16-year-old," said Cougars head coach Eric Gagne. "For me raising your hand to a player of that age is wrong." [Toronto Sun]
From what I gather here, the Chicoutimi player, #25 who is possibly identified as the son of Jean Côté in the CBC story, is apparently a repeat concussion victim as well as a target of bullying from opposing coaches:
HOCKEY MINEUR: le joueur de 16 ans frappé à la tête victime d'intimidation des entraîneurs depuis le début de la saison. Détails #CBJSRC
— Sabrina Myre (@SabrinaMyre) October 22, 2012
Translation mine. There's no explanation as to what provoked the Chicoutimi player to leap onto the bench, but a season's worth of bullying isn't exactly conducive to a player's enjoyment of the game. Chicoutimi's #25, presumably Côté's son, appears to be one of the three players suspended by the federation, along with #62 and #24 on Jonquière. The Québec Ice Hockey Federation gets to work with the benefit of names attached to player numbers so they can more thoroughly review the tape. They also have the benefit of a more thorough report.
The second coach, the assistant who pulled the initial Cougar assailant onto the bench, is presumably the other coach to receive the indefinite suspension, but not a lot is clear from the league's release. This is a pretty wild scrum, however, that will probably result in the lifetime ban of at least one coach.