Manitoba

Winnipeg Police to keep the peace at minor hockey games this winter

Referees won't be the only ones enforcing good behaviour at rinks this winter. Winnipeg Police will be continuing their CHECK-ing In program for a second year. The program sees officers attend games around the city to ensure arenas are safe from unruly spectator behaviour.

Winnipeg Police’s CHECK-ing In program returns for a second year

Winnipeg Police will be checking-in on minor hockey league games this winter to calm tempers and encourage parents to stay positive at games. (CBC)

Referees won't be the only ones enforcing good behaviour at rinks this winter.  Winnipeg Police said they will continue their CHECK-ing In program for a second year. The program sees officers attend games around the city to ensure arenas are safe from unruly spectator behaviour.

Last year, officers dropped in on approximately 40 games, said a Friday news release.

Monte Miller, executive director of Hockey Winnipeg, said it's not fist fights and brawls that Winnipeg Police tend to encounter at local rinks. Those events are extremely rare compared to out-of-line yelling and heated tempers, he said.

"We had some incidences last year, of course. In playoffs we had to send constables to some of the games over and above what they were doing, but there was no violence," he said.

Hockey Winnipeg players and coaches now fall under the Hockey Canada's Respectful Hockey Policy, which Miller said has helped enforce good behaviour. Officers are focusing on keeping the parents in check, since they don't fall under the policy, he said. 

"When you have two teams competing there's always the chance things will get heated," Miller said, "And it's amazing how everybody gets calmed down when you see a uniform walk into the rink."

In 2014, there were two high-profile incidents of violence at hockey games. In February, Winnipeg parents of eight-year-old players were seen throwing punches at coaches during a tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.

That same winter, a coach and two 12-year-olds were charged in connection with a violent game in February, between teams from Sagkeeng First Nation and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

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