Police say charges are pending against three people involved in an on-ice brawl at a hockey tournament in Winnipeg.
It happened during a game at the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament, held in February at the Southdale Community Centre in Winnipeg.
A team from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation was playing against a team from Sagkeeng First Nation when referees had to step in to stop a scuffle between two players.
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The players were separated but while making their way back to their team benches, a 12-year-old player from Sagkeeng used his stick to slash the Brokenhead player on the back of the legs.
As the two players begin jostling again, a referee skates in to break it up. He grabs the Sagkeeng player and appears to slip, knocking the boy to the ground as they both fall.
An assistant coach from Sagkeeng then runs onto the ice and goes after the 22-year-old referee while other officials and coaches rush to the melee.
Player, coach suspended
The Southeast Tribal Council, which hosts the annual tournament, held a press conference earlier this month to say the player and coach will be suspended, though the length of the suspension was not revealed.
Police said they are still investigating the incident and charges are likely. They have not identified the people yet and won't say if that includes the same coach and player suspended by the tribal council.
The 12-year-old Sagkeeng player, who was injured in the fall with the ref, and his mother had been calling for the referee to be disciplined and criminally charged.
They claimed the official picked him up from under the arms and slammed the boy onto the ice.
But Brokenhead First Nation Chief Jim Bear questions whether criminal charges are the best way to deal with the incident.
"I'm glad something is going to be done … there has to be consequences to any type of violence. However, I don't really have too much faith in the mainstream justice system," he said.
"I would prefer to see restorative justice in place of mainstream justice being conducted. And in this fashion, the refs can be part of that as well."