Hockey club investigating after video appears to show boy convulsing in locker room

·2 min read

CALGARY — Minor hockey players who were filmed pushing a boy into a locker room wall until he fell to the ground and appeared to briefly convulse have lost their playing privileges pending an investigation, the executive director of Hockey Calgary said Monday.

"It's very disappointing. It's very disturbing," Kevin Kobelka said of the incident a week ago at a Calgary arena that involved members of the Northwest Warriors hockey club aged 14 and 15.

"The most important thing is we don't condone this type of behaviour and we don't feel it's reflective of our program."

The video obtained by local media over the weekend begins with a boy hunched over as a group surrounding him counts to 30. Two boys then push him up against the wall by his chest as one can be heard saying "he's out, he's out, he's out."

Another member of the group empties a water bottle over the boy's head and he falls to the ground and briefly twitches before getting up.

Kobelka said he heard the boy is fine.

He added it's his understanding no adults were supervising at the time.

"Our guidelines state that coaches or managers or some lead from the team need to be in and around the dressing room at all times and monitoring and poking their head in," he said.

Any responsible coaches have also had their privileges suspended.

Kobelka said he learned of the video on Friday. He said the Warriors' leadership are heading the investigation with the support of Hockey Calgary. He said coaches have been interviewed and that players involved will be, too.

Once the investigation is complete, Hockey Calgary, Hockey Alberta and perhaps Hockey Canada will determine the appropriate discipline, Kobelka said.

He said he's seen bad locker-room behaviour over the years.

"This would be the most serious one that I've seen in recent time in my tenure at Hockey Calgary."

The Northwest Warriors' communication director did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The club's executive said in a statement to families posted on its website Monday that it takes the situation seriously and that it is following a process to appropriately address it.

The statement says there have been "speculation, gossip and rumours that are unsubstantiated with fact" since the video was shared and that members' families should stop circulating it.

"We are concerned about the safety of our children as this situation has the potential to escalate through the use of social media and video sharing to the point where children may become victim to cyber bullying," the statement says.

"Parents possess the ability to de-escalate through engagement with their own children and we ask all of our families to pause and think of unintended consequences that may be caused by continuing the gossip train."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 26, 2020.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press