Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Kill the ref, eh?

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When Canadian hockey parents attack:

The backstory is thus, sayeth the London Free Press:

The attack on a London hockey official at a game last weekend was one of several incidents in a game many say was “out of control.”

And the woman who shot video footage of the attack by an unidentified Kitchener hockey parent after his son was injured by an illegal check says verbal abuse and violence are not uncommon at most games.

“I think it’s completely out of control,” said Michelle Everitt, 19, whose brother Matt, 15, a goalie, plays for the London Junior Knights midget AA team that was playing the Kitchener Junior Rangers at Medway Arena last Saturday. …

Meanwhile, more details of the attack on the linesman continue to emerge — including the fact the referee had already thrown one Kitchener parent out of the arena and ejected a Kitchener player for the same type of hit from behind that sparked the attack. … Police were called to the arena, but no charges were laid.

Geez, and Canadians always seemed so nice.

An earlier story on the nuttiness noted:

“The violence we’re seeing against (on-ice officials) is on the increase,” said Gary White, president of the London Referees Group, who declined to comment on the incident since it is still being investigated.

“This year is one of the worst in the last three or four years – players, parents, coaches. We’re getting the same reports from everywhere. I don’t know what is, whether it’s people worried about their jobs or what.”

I know when I’m worried about my job, I get the urge to beat the shit out of a referee.

As usual with these incidents, the reporter wasn’t there, and details are sketchy and highly subject to the very emotional eye of every beholder.  Without seeing the game, I can’t judge whether these particular refs tried to maintain control and couldn’t, or whether they let chippy play get out of hand. If they had already kicked one parent and player out, it seems to be evidence that the referees tried.

But no matter if they didn’t, the parent shouldn’t have attacked the referee. I don’t care that his son was hurt on an illegal play. I know as parents we have the urge to fight, literally, for our children, and that very loving and correct feeling can be misapplied, and often is, in youth sports situations. Blowing up and attacking a referee or coach in the heat of the moment does no one any good. If you want substantive change, there are better avenues available, once everyone has cooled. Or at least, if you’re going to attack, do as former New Jersey Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld, and offer some pastries to go with your conversation.

However, you must always remember that you never know who you’re dealing with. For example, I’ll bet the 64-year-old Indiana guy all pissed off at the officials during a junior high game might have rethought his plan to attack them if he had known one was a state trooper.

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