There are not many people who are involved in youth sports that would not say things are distinctly different today.
Fans and parents can often be heard shouting things from the stand such as “home town ref” and “how much are they paying you to throw this game.”
Despite the intense feeling by many parents that refereeing is inconsistent, nothing in USA hockey circles can match what happened in Quebec youth hockey recently.
Due to an altercation there will be no more youth hockey in one Quebec town after a hockey association canceled the remainder of the season for all teams that use its facility after multiple players from its 16 and 17-year-old squad attacked a referee following a recent youth hockey game.
The Toronto Sun reported that the Kahnawake (Quebec) Hockey Association canceled the remainder of the season for all teams that use its facility as a home base after six to eight members of its 16 and 17-year-old Minors team squad attacked referee Frederic Ouellette following his ejection of a Kahnawake player during the third period of a recent game.
According to reports a referee who was working the game, Ouellette kicked a Kahnawake player out of the game when the player shot a puck at the referee.
While that could have ended any confrontations between the referees and players,but it didn’t. Instead, what manifested after the game was a nightmare, as described by the other unnamed second official.
He said” After the game, the same player wanted to get at Fred (Ouellette), so I intervened; his coaches arrived and ordered the player to go to his locker room.”
The teens briefly locked the referees in the room and after they opened the door, the clash began.
“About six or seven others people entered the room and pushed me very hard said one of the parents according to accounts of the event in the Toronto Sun.
I cried out a few times to leave him alone. Then two guys told me to do nothing or else I’d get the same treatment. At no time did I hit anybody, nor did Carl and Fred,” he said.
One unnamed 17-year-old player has already been charged with assault in connection with the incident, while others could be charged in the coming days.
The overall implications of the fight have now stretched far beyond the team involved. As Kahnawake Minor Hockey Association president Peter Jacobs told Canadian TV (CTV), the organization is now investigating numerous possible future changes to minimize the chance that such an ugly incident might unfold again, including adding additional security staff or installing a security camera.
Jacobs admitted that canceling the season for teams who weren’t even involved in the melee might be unfair, though he defended the hockey association’s decision based on the severity of the attack.
“It’s not really fair to the other teams but I also back up the referees,” Jacobs told CTV. “They have legitimate concerns and it’s up to us to guarantee anybody’s safety that comes here.”
There is no doubt that some referees are not always the best at calling games and almost every parent has seen refs that have made bad calls, but it has not come to the point that our youth players attack the referees.
The problem in Kahnawake was compounded by the fact that it was difficult to recruit referees for youth games which might have contributed to the problem.
Thank goodness we have not reached that level of development.