December 08, 2004

Out Of Control

Another article on out-of-control parents/fans/players attacking players/refs/other parents. Now this is what I was trying to get across in one of my previous posts about cutting the refs some slack this year. People are living on the thin edge these days; who knows what will make them snap. There is a fine line between passion for a game/team/player and lunacy. There are a lot of yahoos in the stands, and one I witnessed last year was over the top. He'd stand and yell at the top of his lungs, his face getting redder and redder, spittle flying, until I thought for sure he was going to stroke out. These yahoos use foul language and act like lunatics in front of children. These unstable people surround us at games, so it concerns me --- who will lose control and do something horrendous. I've seen people throw crap on the ice in extreme situations. I would seriously think twice about reffing as a career choice/volunteer choice until something is done to curb the violence. It's crazy. It has to stop.

From the Ottawa Sun today, an article written by Laura Czekaj entitled Hockey dad eyed in attack on ref:

Allegedly shoved official into door after son was kicked out of game

A GLOUCESTER hockey referee needed stitches to his head Saturday after he was allegedly attacked by an irate hockey dad whose son was kicked out of a minor hockey game for an illegal check. It was the most recent case of off-ice violence to hit Ontario hockey rinks in the past few months.

Referee Mike McKeough had been working a game on one of the two rinks at Fred Barrett Arena in Leitrim and was waiting for some fellow officials at about 6:15 p.m. when they were approached by the parent following a tournament game involving the Carleton Place minor bantam rep B competitive team.

"He was saying 'this is the second game you've cost us, you're a terrible f---ing ref, you better watch or I'll put your head through the glass'," said McKeough, 24.

"I told him to shut up, cool down and grow up," he said.

As McKeough turned to walk away, he said the parent lunged at him.

"He grabbed me from behind and shoved me face first into a steel door frame and a concrete wall," he said. "I got a gash in my forehead about an inch long that took seven stitches to close it up."

The force of the blow caused McKeough to fall through the unlocked door and lose sight of his attacker.

"I was seeing stars and trying to stem the blood coming from my head," he said.

But District 9 Referees Association president David McCarthy said others had to pull the enraged parent away to keep him from continuing the attack.


"He was going to jump on top of him by the sounds of it," said McCarthy. "The linesman behind him used the only force he could and used his helmet to try to hit him in the back of the shoulder area."

Ottawa police were called, but the suspect had left before they arrived. As of yesterday, police said they knew the man's identity but had not made an arrest, nor laid any charges. The investigation was continuing.

McKeough, who was driven to the Winchester Hospital to be stitched up, has already missed refereeing seven games and took two days off his job as a snow-plow driver.

While he has been threatened before, McKeough said it was the first time in his eight years as a referee that he has actually been assaulted.

"Any parent who does this kind of stuff has to be banned," said McCarthy, who has also witnessed and been the victim of a steady onslaught of verbal and sometimes physical abuse in his 23 years as a ref.

Every act of aggression against referees means fewer people want to perform the job, said McCarthy. The incident has left a blemish on an otherwise good tournament.

"They are sort of scarred with this, even though it has nothing to do with the tournament," he said.

Although incidents involving serious physical violence at minor hockey games are relatively rare, there have been a recent spate of attacks and incidents off the ice involving angry parents.

Durham police have charged the mom and sister of a player after they allegedly threw a metal bar and a cup of hot coffee at a player during an Ontario Hockey Association Junior A game on Sunday.

A Toronto hockey mom, who allegedly flashed her chest at parents of the opposing team at her 11-year-old's hockey game last month, is facing banishment from minor hockey rinks.

Seriously . . . yahoos.


Darnell Clayton said...

Peaple need to drink less coffee...or take chill pills. Sports is something you are suppose to go to in order to enjoy...not risk getting beat up over. Selah!

Sid said...

Hidden Nook - It sure does take the enjoyment out of it [sports] when bad stuff like this happens - and the NBA spectacle is another example. Crazy.