Attack on refs leads to hockey cancellation in Kahnawake
KAHNAWAKE, Quebec - Hockey is over for this season in Kahnawake following a shocking incident in which several players from the home team attacked a referee after the game Sunday.
The incident occurred following a game involved 16 and 17-year-old boys. After a player was tossed from the game, the player, along with several of his teammates, beat on a referee that had just finished working their game.
The player in question was suspended but the punishment is not necessarily over.
"One player was suspended right away but I suspect the whole team will be because there was more than one player involved," said Peter Jacobs of the Kahnawake Minor Hockey Association.
One of the other referees working the game offered a statement to police to describe the incident which began when number 14 became angry at a referee for not calling a penalty against the opposition.
"In the third period, during a stoppage, Kahanwake's number 14 shot at the sweater of (referee) Frederic Ouellette, which made him lose balance a bit and then he pushed him with his glove.
Fred tossed the player out of the game. I escorted the player off the rink," he wrote.
The game had otherwise been "rather calm," he said.
He continued: "after the game, the same player wanted to get at Fred, 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 melee began.
"About six or seven others people entered the room and pushed me very hard. Me and Carl tried to keep the guys from Fred. I saw Carl on the ground and the guys were holding him down. 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.
Eventually the incident ended when a Midget A Girls team came by.
In spite of the severity of the attack, several parents argued that punishing all players from all teams using the facility was not fair.
And even Peter Jacobs concedes that it possibly is not entirely fair.
"It's not really fair to the other teams but I also back up the referees," said Jacobs. "They have legitimate concerns and it's up to us to guarantee anybody's safety who comes here."
Kahanawake has had trouble attracting referees to work their games and this incident could surely compound those issues.
Jacobs said that a serious re-think of safety measures will be required.
"There's a lot of options we're talking about moving the referee room, were talking about setting up a camera, we're talking about having security to guarantee the safety for everybody involved."