Two New Jersey high school hockey referees who were allegedly assaulted after a game have now been banned from officiating games within their district.
The Freehold Regional School district has requested that referees Dave Brown and Sal Bianco no longer officiate games that involve their district schools.
The ban comes in apparent response to an incident between the two officials and two Howell high school parents back in February. The events are summarized via press release from the Howell Police Department:
The dispute started during the game. Following the game, one parent approached two referees regarding the dispute. At this time a physical altercation began and a [fourth] subject became involved in the altercation.
The four subjects involved in the physical altercation sustained minor visible injuries (This included red marks and bruising to facial area, bloodshot eyes, bruised hand) and complaints of pain. Two of the involved subjects refused medical attention and the [on-ice officials] were transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center.
During the game, a player responded with an obscenity after being called for a minor penalty. The officials added a 10-minute misconduct. During the stoppage, a parent took exception to the call.
“In the corner was a woman who was screaming and yelling and banging on the glass,” said Bianco. “My partner, who was at the top of the blue line, came down, pointed at her and told her that she needed to be removed from the rink and told her to leave the rink.”
Another Howell player approached the officials in apparent defense of the woman; he was reportedly given a game misconduct for offensive language.
The rest of the game concluded without incident.
Bianco told the Asbury Park Press that the altercation happened while the referees were changing in the officials’ locker room when one of the parents unexpectedly entered the room, hitting Brown in the head with the door.
“The gentleman that slammed the door open and hit him in the head quickly got himself in the room, shut the door behind him and started saying, ‘Which one of you cursed at my wife?’” Bianco said. “We said, ‘Sir, we don’t know what you’re talking about.’
“I got up and said, ‘This is a (private room), you need to leave.’ He pushed me backwards and then just went at Dave and started punching Dave.”
Bianco said he pulled the parent off Brown and pinned him to the ground until a second parent entered the room and grabbed both referees “by the throat.”
Robert Dovenero, one of the parents involved, claims he was outside the officials’ room when he heard an altercation. Dovenero said he separated the other parent, Anthony Gallichio, from the officials until police arrived.
Both the Howell Police Department and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the case. Neither opted to press charges. Both sides were ordered to attend mediation sessions in April prior to all charges being dropped by the prosecutor’s office.
Dovenero has since filed a civil suit against the officials, claimed that he was attacked and, as a result, was “painfully and permanently injured” and therefore “prevented from attending to his regular pursuits and duties.”
The parents involved in the altercation were banned from attending Howell hockey games or events on campus.
Now it appears the officials will also be banned from working them.