Charges are pending against two men for an assault on a hockey referee during a youth tournament.
The incident took place at the Quest for the Cup 3-on-3 hockey tournament for ages 7-12 at Lethbridge’s ATB Centre. A 10-year-old player engaged in a verbal altercation with an official, then struck him with a slash to the legs. The official reportedly pushed the player to the ice. Video shows the referee skating away from a group of men, one of whom is knocked to the ice. Two others continued to pursue the referee, with one wrestling him to the ice.
This just happened in #Lethbridge tonight. From what I’ve been told it was a 10 year old 3 on 3 tournament where a player slashed a ref. My source tells me the ref responded in a physical way (some are saying self defence) & this happened. Reaching out to organizer for more info pic.twitter.com/mlsZs8nNuE
— Dean Millard (@DuckMillard) September 9, 2019
The referee and coach both sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The 10-year-old boy whose stickwork sparked the melee was not injured.
From the Lethbridge Police:
On September 8, 2019 at approximately 2 p.m. police responded to a report of an assault at the Crossings Ice Centre along Mauretania Road. Investigation determined at the conclusion of the game, a 10-year-old male player was involved in a verbal altercation with a ref which escalated to the youth striking the ref twice with his stick and the ref pushing him to the ice. At that point a group of adults, including coaches and a relative of the 10-year-old player, came onto the ice. A coach from the opposing team was shoved to the ground and the ref was punched multiple times by the player’s relative and a second man before the altercation was broken up.
The relative was subsequently arrested without incident but the second male left the arena and police are attempting to locate him. Assault charges are pending against him.
The individuals charged were 55-year-old Robert Farrell Creighton, reported to be the 10-year-old’s grandfather, and an unidentified 36-year-old man. From CTV:
Creighton claims players on the opposing team had been running the goalie of his grandson’s team throughout the game and the ref, who he believes to be a man in his 40s or 50s, ‘wasn’t calling anything’.
According to Creighton, the incident occurred after the game and ahead of the team’s exchanging handshakes. He says his grandson called the official a ‘bad ref’ and the ref responded by telling the boy to ‘get off the f-ing ice’ and pushing him. Creighton says his grandson’s head struck the ice and the boy proceeded to slash the shin pads of the ref with his stick.
No charges have been filed against the referee.
The tournament was organized by High Performance Hockey, who released a statement:
Earlier today, an altercation occurred at our Quest for the Cup tournament. This incident is receiving significant attention on social media and should serve as an example to all about the importance of ensuring the rink is a safe place for our children. Actions like this have no place in our game.
Creighton is set to appear in court on October 9.