Skip to comments.Hockey fighting flares emotions - on both sides
Posted on 10/19/2005 10:17:59 PM PDT by RWR8189
DIMONDALE - Can we all agree that the coach-ordered fistfighting Bob McClean believes he witnessed at The Summit ice arena last week is a bad thing?
Gordon Allington has no objection to it. His 17-year-old son, Chase Allington, plays in the local Capital Centre Pride league. The kid says he fights when the coach says "fight."
The father accepts it as an occupational hazard. Calling Tuesday from Wasilla, Alaska, he said: "They must learn how to protect themselves. It's a way to get the kids to the next level."
Al Harris agrees. He lives in East Lansing and has two sons - 11 and 17 - who play hockey. In an e-mail responding to Tuesday's column, Harris wrote:
"In my opinion, the parents of these high-caliber players brought their kids to this coaching staff in order to prepare them for hockey at the next level."
He added: "Regardless of how it looks, these players were learning to protect themselves and their teammates in a sport that condones physical confrontation."
As I wrote Tuesday, McClean, a retired cop who lives in Dimondale, was watching his grandson play at The Summit, in Dimondale, on Oct. 11, when he saw something that filled him with disgust.
He called it "orchestrated brutality."
As McClean described the scenario, a coach at a practice session of teenage hockey players ordered the kids to drop their gloves and helmets, and fight each other, one on one. He said he witnessed four or five fights, which left several kids bloodied.
Debi Haigh of Eagle, at The Summit with her 9-year-old daughter, said she saw the same thing McClean saw.
"I was stunned," Haigh said. "One boy took a heck of a beating. He skated to the side holding his nose and wiping tears."
Based on McClean's account and a preliminary review, Jim Cain, who runs both The Summit and the league, suspended an unnamed coach while he investigates.
"We have reason to believe fighting occurred," Cain said, adding that such conduct violates rules of both the league and USA Hockey, the governing body of amateur hockey in the United States.
Also, George Atkinson of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association said Tuesday that his group will "get to the bottom" of the incident.
"We certainly do not condone the type of behavior described in your article," Atkinson said.
Speaking theoretically, Eaton County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter said a coach who encourages minors to engage in assault could face misdemeanor charges.
Parents feel stymied
Clearly, some parents of players who know about the fighting don't like it, but they feel paralyzed by their sons' hockey ambitions.
I heard from two women who identified themselves as mothers of two of the players on the team in question.
One of the mothers said her son suffered a concussion and three loose teeth in one of the "practice fights." The other mother said her son was forced to fight his best friend.
But neither had filed a complaint, and both were adamant about not being publicly identified.
Why? They offered identical motives: Their sons begged them not to do or say anything that would threaten their standing on the team and their future in hockey.
Their reasoning went like this: The boys struggled through the ranks to become part of an elite team in the Pride league. Being linked to an official complaint would subject a player to being shunned, at best, and possible retaliation.
Said one mother: "If it ever got out that he complained, his days of playing serious hockey would be over."
Speaking as an amateur hockey referee, coach, and parent, the conduct of this coach is ridiculous and should not be tolerated.
This guy should not be in charge of any team. This is not what the game is about
Um... this is hockey, not golf, we're talking about?
Another article on the same story:
I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of YOUTH hockey but the pros should be allowed to mix it up. Not allowing them to fight almost always leads to stickwork or other nasty behavior.
The "next level". The next circle of Hell?
How low are we going to go?
The only time there should be fighting in hockey practice is if fighting is in the league rules - and then it should be practiced by the appropiate players. I don't think most coaches want the Yzermans on the team fighting and off the ice for five minutes. They send the McCartys out there to fight, to protect the Yzermans.
The question I have here is whether it is the Capital Center Pride LEAGUE or TEAM. The Capital Center Pride TEAM is in the NAHL, which is a junior hockey league(Junior A?). Eric Lindros used to play in it for Detroit Compuware before he went to the OHL, so this is a fairly bigtime league. There may be fighting allowed in it. It's considered amateur, but it's probably closer to semi-pro.
Now if it's a local league with "no fighting" rules, that's another story.
You can't even compare youth hockey to the pros.
Pro-hockey is about entertainment, fights are a part of the show.
In the pros, you get in a fight you take your 5 minute penalty and get back on the ice.
In youth hockey you're looking at least 3 game suspension and you're headed to the review board.
"This guy should not be in charge of any team. This is not what the game is about"
"I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of YOUTH hockey but the pros should be allowed to mix it up. Not allowing them to fight almost always leads to stickwork or other nasty behavior."
I'll second this...nothing sticks out more in my head than going with my dad to the Flyers v. Rangers fights back in the late 70's early 80's @ the Spectrum. Good times. Come to think of it...there were almost as many fights in the stands as there were on the ice. Those were even more entertaining as they usually involved beer & girls.
Capital Center Pride is a youth hockey association (also).
How about the kids standby while the parents brutalize each other.
The sissification of young men continues, as the Marching Mommies jump in front of their precious darlings to demand they be wrapped in bubble wrap and taught to injure other players with their sticks like the European players do ...
Personally I would run away from home if I were a young boy whose Mommy went shrieking to my coach because I came home with a boo boo. Not only would I never be able to play pro hockey, but I would never get a date with a person of the opposite sex as long as I might live.
Hockey in the 1970s was the greatest it's been in modern times -- we had the same kind of 'fun' at Ranger games and later when the Canucks visited LA, and we loved it.
Went to a fight the other evening and a hockey game broke out.
I don't see how you equate sportsmanship with sissification.
There's nothing wrong with a good clean check, but fighting isn't part of youth hockey and it never has been.
Fighting is entertainment to keep people watching pro games, not that there's anything wrong with that either.
Rome had it's gladiators, we have hockey. This kind of love for violence is the sign of a sick society in danger of collapse.
ITA, it makes me physically ill. My 14 year old son plays bantam travel hockey. he is team capt and has a couple of thugs on his team, that he is trying to rein in, as it hurts the entire team. The coach is benching the kids that get misconduct penalties. this past weekend, the worst offender was told by the coach not to show up for sunday's game. the refs in this league are adopting zero tolerance for it, and i am all for that.
hey that is not so far off the mark. many of the hockey parents are every bit the thugs that their kids are!