Winnipeg police are investigating after a brawl at a kids’ hockey tournament over the weekend left a 12-year-old boy with a broken wrist.
The incident, which was caught on tape, happened during the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament on Sunday around 2 p.m. when a fight between two young players broke out.
A referee tried to break it up, but one boy used his stick to slash the opponent on the back of the legs.
The video of the event, posted to YouTube, shows the two players beginning to fight again. That’s when a referee skates in to break it up.
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The ref grabs the 12-year-old boy who slashed an opponent but appears to slip, knocking the boy to the ground as they both fall.
That’s when a coach gets involved and a fight breaks out on ice.
The 12-year-old boy suffered a broken wrist in the fall, and both the boy and his mother believe the referee hurt him on purpose. They want criminal charges laid.
Officials with the rink think it was an accident and said the referee was following protocol when he slipped and fell.
Winnipeg police haven’t said if charges will be laid, but an official with Hockey Manitoba said incidents like these are all too common.
“Stuff like this has been going on for 20 years,” said Grant Heather, the director of officials for Hockey Manitoba. “For some reason, we’ve accepted it. Now, I just think people aren’t accepting it anymore. With iPhone and smart phone videos, everyone is recording things now.”
Heather said he can’t comment on what happened at Sunday’s tournament but said so far this season, at least 15 incidents involving violence have been reported to his organization.
He said particularly in kids’ hockey, tensions can escalate and confrontations can explode.
“I sit on suspension hearings where there is physical [violence] or threatening of officials when serious penalties have been called,” said Heather. “I’ve heard and seen it all.”
Heather thinks the problem is best dealt with by more education and teaching on respect in sport for everyone who participates.
He said Hockey Winnipeg’s recent move to implement a mandatory course on respect in sport is a good first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done.