British Columbia

Restraining aggressive hockey parents a 'battle that never ends', says B.C. Hockey CEO

Some recent altercations between hockey parents and teenaged referees at some minor hockey games has put concerns about sportsmanship back in the spotlight.

CEO Barry Petrachenko says, however, vast majority of parents in amateur hockey 'very good'

B.C. Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko says the vast majority of hockey parents follow the parental code of conduct. (CBC)

Some recent altercations between hockey parents and teenaged referees at some minor hockey games has put concerns about sportsmanship back in the spotlight.

Burnaby RCMP were called to a game on Saturday after a group of North Vancouver parents involved in an altercation began verbally abusing a teenage referee during a peewee hockey game.

In Edmonton last week, teenage referees were so terrified of some hockey parents that they locked themselves in a dressing room until police came to safely escort them out.

Barry Petrachenko, the CEO of B.C. Hockey, said the issue of aggressive hockey parents tends to come up during playoff time because the stakes of the game are elevated in the minds of parents and players.

He said B.C. Hockey — which is in charge of governing all amateur hockey in B.C. and the Yukon —  has worked hard to try and address the issue in the region but admits it's a tough process.

"It's a battle that never ends," he said. "We don't have the power to flip a switch and end it but we work hard every day every year toward educating people."

Parental code of conduct

B.C. Hockey launched a sportsmanship program for parents in the 2014/2015 season, and parents are governed by a parent code of conduct that Petrachenko described as common sense.

"If everybody remembered that code of conduct every day, we wouldn't have these issues come up. Unfortunately circumstances aren't always in line with the code."

Petrachenko points to positive impacts of the program, noting it equips "good" parents to recognize poor behaviour in other parents and gives them tools to stop that behaviour.

"The complaint about [these programs] always is the majority of our parents are very good ... but there's a minority out there that do cause some issue," he said.

"We're making some headway in stopping those situations ... and we have to just get rid of that behaviour in that minority of people who can't help themselves."

The Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association is currently investigating the incident that took place in Burnaby, and Petrachenko said sanctions will likely follow.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Restraining aggressive hockey parents a 'battle that never ends', B.C. Hockey CEO says