West Vancouver police had to step in and make an arrest Saturday night after fans at a minor hockey game got into an off-ice scuffle.
The Hollyburn Huskies AAA bantam team was facing a visiting Semiahmoo at the Hollyburn Country Club for a playoff when an argument between a 45-year-old West Vancouver man and a 67-year-old Langley man got physical.
“Two males representing family members from opposite sides of the playoff game began arguing and then the allegation is one male suddenly escalates the argument by grabbing the person’s clothing on the upper body and starting to shake the person while they’re arguing,” said Const. Jeff Palmer, West Vancouver police spokesman.
The Langley man was left with some bruising and soreness and police are recommending the Crown lay one charge of assault against the West Vancouver man. He is due in court in May.
There was just over a minute left in the game when a brawl broke out between the 13- and 14-year-olds on the ice, according to Jack Cummings, Hollyburn hockey co-ordinator. The incident in the upstairs viewing area happened shortly after and the referee pulled the plug on the came.
“The game wasn’t called because of anything on the ice. The game was called because of what was happening with the parents upstairs,” Cummings said. “As soon as there’s parents fighting, the game is over.”
Discipline for the on-ice behaviour has already been handed down by the B.C. Hockey Association.
“We lost a sportsmanship point at the end because of the fight and that cost us the banner to be honest,” Cummings said.
The Huskies played again on Sunday, albeit with four players suspended for fighting. Four of the Semiahmoo players were also suspended, as well as the team’s coach, Cummings added.
The incident has been a black mark for the sport, Cummings said.
“I certainly think all parents involved, whether they’re Hollyburn or Semiahmoo, really regret what happened,” he said. “It does get emotional and it happens quick. I’m sure everybody is really embarrassed about it. It’s an embarrassing moment for minor hockey. It’s one of the most disappointing things I’ve been involved with, that’s for sure.”
B.C. Minor Hockey did not responded to a request for comment on the story.
Calls to break up disturbances at hockey arenas are quite rare in West Vancouver, Palmer said, but he has some advice for minor hockey spectators when they get agitated.
“It’s a minor game. Watch the game. If something in the game upsets you, remember it’s a minor hockey game,” he said. “Enjoy it in full recognition of the fact that it’s a game and it’s being played by kids. Conduct yourself accordingly.”