Greater Trail RCMP confirm a report about an assault on a minor hockey referee in the Rossland arena was filed Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Matthew Fournier on Unsplash)

Altercation with referee, 15, causes concern for bullying in B.C. minor hockey

Greater Trail Minor hockey referee denounces post-game confrontation with parent

Berating a 15-year-old hockey referee then getting hands on with the senior official who intervened is outrageous, a thirtysomething Trail referee recounted.

But the worst part?

He says it’s the parents who stood by in the Rossland Arena Friday night and either heckled or did nothing.

“I’ve been involved in Greater Trail Minor Hockey going on 30 years,” the ref told the Trail Times. “I’ve never seen anything like this and I think this story needs to be told because what happened is crazy – and it happens way more than it should right across the country.”

The misconduct began during a Bantam house game between Trail and Castlegar in the early evening of Jan. 26.

The senior referee showed up to officiate a later Bantam game – Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association held a Bantam tournament last weekend – when he noticed a group of spectators being verbally aggressive from the stands.

“They were yelling, giving the kids a rough time,” he explained. “So I hung around for a bit instead of getting ready.”

Then something happened on the ice, some pushing or shoving.

“The two young linesmen and one referee, all of them 15-years old, dealt with it,” the ref recalled. “They were at the penalty box doing their thing so I thought they had it all under control and the crowd was quiet.”

With only 20 minutes left before the next game start at 7:30 p.m., the man went to lace up in the ref’s dressing room which is located close to the ice entrance/exit.

Shortly after, he could hear a very loud voice.

“I could hear the teams coming off the ice and I could hear some really loud elevated shouting right outside the (dressing room) door,” he continued. “By what this person was screaming, I knew he was yelling at the young referee himself.”

When the older official went into the corridor, he says the young ref was backed up against the wall with the parent screaming at a hair’s breadth from the teenager.

“So I got myself between this guy and the young referee, I told the kid to go into the dressing room, then I proceeded to scold this man,” the ref said. “I wanted this guy to switch his focus to me and we exchanged words.”

The situation took an even uglier turn when the parent got physical with the senior official.

“He straight armed me to the throat because I wouldn’t let him by to give the young fella more words” the ref told the Times. “And I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

What happened next, rather what didn’t happen next, is especially unsettling.

“All the while a large group of parents from Trail and Castlegar stood there and watched and none of them came to help,” he added.

“Several of them even heckled me for scolding this man, they said I was out of line.”

After the situation calmed with new players and parents arriving in the Rossland rink, the ref was left visibly shaken. Yes, he was disappointed with what had just transpired, but mostly, he was angry.

He reported the incident to BC Hockey and then on Saturday, to police.

“I am a full grown man and I can take care of myself so I am not going to press charges,” said the ref, who is also a father. “But they wanted documentation and that’s why I filed a police report. All I could think about was what if there was another 15-year-old kid coming to ref the next game and not me – I mean how would you like it if someone yelled at your 15-year old like that?

“These are kids.”

Sgt. Darren Oelke from the Greater Trail RCMP confirmed a report was made to the detachment the afternoon of Jan. 27.

“The victim did not want criminal charges pursued in the matter,” Oelke said. “Basically the parent was reported to be verbally aggressive toward a 15-year-old linesman (sic) and when the head referee intervened he was pushed by the parent. It is being investigated by the BC Minor Hockey Association.”

Oelke says it’s important to keep in mind that in minor hockey, the referees and linesmen are often only slightly older than the kids on the ice.

“Many rinks have adopted a yellow card policy where zero abuse by fans/parents will be accepted,” he said. “I understand the parent in this matter was banned from the rink in Rossland. Our file is concluded.”

David Flanagan, West Kootenay Lead for BC Hockey, says he was made aware of the incident shortly after it happened and immediately corresponded with all officials involved.

“I have gathered statements from all the officials that were affected by this incident and I have been corresponding with Greater Trail Minor Hockey providing them with written statements from the officials involved,” Flanagan said, clarifying a full investigation is underway by GTMHA.

“Further action includes liaising with Greater Trail Minor Hockey, West Kootenay Minor Hockey, and BC Hockey to ensure the appropriate discipline will be handed down to this parent, implementing steps to prevent a future similar situation, and communicating with all the officials involved to make sure they are supported after this negative experience.”

Still visibly upset but stressing this kind of conduct will not be tolerated in Greater Trail, the ref asked not to be identified. He plans on staying active as an official, and was concerned about whispers between the young players themselves.

“I am still going to be a referee and this guy might have more kids so I don’t want to be , ‘that (expletive) who got my dad in trouble.”

The bottom line, he stresses, is that this was a Trail dad at a Trail game with Trail officiating.

“And no one came forward to help,” he said. “So I think the punishment is not enough. He will be banned for the remainder of the year at minimum for all greater Trail minor hockey events.

“But I think his kid and all of those parents should be banned for the rest of the season as well,” he concluded.

“Because really, is this something we want in hockey?”


Got a news tip? Email me.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

New fees based on harvest cost, cedar no longer exempt

Three more earthquakes off north and central B.C. coasts

No tsunami or damage reported after the aftershocks in near Bella Bella, Port Hardy and Haida Gwaii

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

Most Read