Hockey player attacks 15-year-old official during game in Eastern Townships

A under-18 hockey player has been suspended for at least the rest of his season after he attacked a 15-year-old linesperson following an ejection from a game last weekend.

Player to be suspended for at least rest of season, more punishment could follow, league says

A hockey referee wearing a black and white striped shirt with orange arm bands.
The player attacked the 15-year-old official after being ejected from a hockey game. (Radio-Canada)

A 15-year-old hockey linesman is recovering after being attacked by a player during an under-18 game in the Eastern Townships on Sunday.

The player, a member of the Sherbrooke Phoenix hockey team, was unhappy about being expelled during an U18 game against the Dynamik de Coaticook.

After receiving a penalty, the player initially headed toward the team bench. The 15-year-old official stepped in and appeared to ask him to exit the ice surface, and then accompanied him to the door. 

A video capturing the altercation shows the player becoming combative toward the linesman, to the point where the the Phoenix goaltender intervened.

The player then appears to be making his way off the playing surface, but just before leaving, he rushes toward the linesman, grabs him and punches him in the face.

WATCH | Footage captures attack on 15-year-old linesman during U18 hockey game:

Referees and members of both teams stepped in to try and stop the altercation.

Philippe Laprise, president of the Coaticook Minor Hockey Association, described the incident as a "very serious and unequivocal assault."

Fortunately, he says, the linesman is doing well because his visor protected him.

Sending a clear message

According to Laprise, the player has been suspended for at least the rest of the season and will be further evaluated by a disciplinary committee.

"We will have to see if he has a history," said Laprise.

"A suspension is all well and good but if we don't help and we don't supervise, it could happen again at any time," he said.

Laprise says a clear message must be sent to young hockey players so this type of behaviour does not happen again.

Jean-François Lapointe, chief referee for Hockey Estrie, agrees.

"When I saw the video, I'm not going to lie, I was a little discouraged to see a player attacking an official, and even worse in this case, a young official who's 15 years old," he said.

Philippe Laprise is the president of the Coaticook Minor Hockey Association. (Radio-Canada)

He says this is the second time he's heard of such an incident. According to him, an official was hit by a player during the 2019-20 season.

Lapointe now wants to get in touch with the linesman who was attacked on Sunday.

"It was his first match in the U18, so I have to talk to this kid to find out how he is experiencing the event," he said.

"Of course, I expect him to tell me that he was shaken by the situation. Even for me, it's been 20 years, if I had been hit or assaulted in this way, I would definitely be shaken," he said.

With files from Radio-Canada