British Columbia

Vancouver Island minor hockey considers a weekend ban on spectators

Amateur hockey association says minority of spectators verbally abusing players and officials

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The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association says it is considering implementing a spectator free weekend as a protest against verbal abuse of its officials and players. (CBC)

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The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association is warning its members in a letter it is considering implementing a spectator-free weekend to protest verbal harassment of its officials and players.

In an open letter, VIAHA president Jim Humphrey says the problem has become so serious the hockey association is seriously contemplating the drastic measure.

Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association

VIAHA president Jim Humphrey says the association is reluctant to take such drastic action, but will if things don't change. (CBC)

Humphrey says spectators would be banned from the ice rink area which would be restricted to officials and players only. Humphrey says referees would not start games until spectators had left and would suspend play or games if they returned.

He says the executive is reluctant to take such drastic action, but the vindictiveness of a small minority is costing the association promising young officials and making it difficult for the players to have fun.

In order to avoid this situation, Humphrey is asking that parents police each other.

"On behalf of the game, we are asking that parents get involved and either ask those that are being inappropriate toward those on the ice to either cease and desist or leave the arena," he said in the letter.

Humphrey says playoff season is approaching and while the executive doesn't want to have to resort to experimenting with a spectator-free weekend, but it will if things don't change.

On mobile? Click here for a copy of the association's letter

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