When a fight breaks out in a hockey game, the combatants usually separate and go to their respective penalty boxes (or locker rooms). Sometimes, the referees need reinforcements — especially when the men in stripes are under attack.
Parents were already fighting in the stands when a 14-year-old player assaulted one of the officials during the Interlake League championship game between the Stonewall Blues and the Lake Manitoba First Nation. The referees called a stop to the game with 11 minutes to play in the third after a violent outbreak on ice.
Things began to escalate after Stonewall took a 3-0 lead. Peter Mandryk, president of Stonewall Minor Hockey recapped the events.
“Their biggest kid jumped our smallest kid and I guess was trying to get something going, they were rolling around on the ice and the linesmen and refs went in to break it up and our guys got our kid out of there. Our kids went to the bench and it was just [Lake Manitoba] guys and refs skirmishing. It just looked like a big melee. Pretty unacceptable behaviour, in my opinion.”
“It was pretty bad,” he said. “Shortly after (the third goal) their first kid kicked one of our kids and got a match (penalty) for that and, on the way out, started pushing and shoving with the ref and got another match. I have never seen that type of behavior at a hockey game. It was just horrible. It’s so ridiculous. [You have players] putting their hands on the ref, and it was just so wrong.”
From the Winnipeg Free Press:
Witnesses said the physical abuse of the officials began not long after the fifth Stonewall goal when some players were involved in a skirmish in front of the Stonewall net and the linesman tried to break it up.
“It was right in front of my net. It was just getting out of hand the whole game,” said Stonewall Blues goaltender Bianca Zak. “[The linesman] was on the ice and there was probably four of the five Lake Manitoba players on the ice kicking him while he was on the ground.” Zak said her teammates were trying to pull players off the fallen linesman. “I was pretty scared.”
“They were getting on the refs for a one-sided refereed game — that’s what they were saying. Then their players were getting chippy and trying to intimidate our players, doing that lunge — that ‘I’m going to get you’ type of lunge. It was very intimidating. In my opinion, they were trying to hit the kids to hurt, going after the smaller guys.”
“The players that were already in the penalty box were yelling at the referees, and then one of their players shot the puck at the referees while they were at the penalty box,” Buhay said. “The fans were yelling at the referees, so I think the referees had just had enough and called the game. It was nasty.”
Another official assaulted in Manitoba. Hats off to all who sport the stripes. Dangerous job now, and only going to get worse.
— Hockey Ref (@Referee_Probs) April 1, 2014
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up and calmed things down, breaking up fights between parents in the stands. About 100 people were cleared from the area. No arrests were made.
A hearing is pending between the two teams’ coaches and the officials with Hockey Manitoba.
For the record, the Blues won the penalty-filled debacle by a score of 5-1.