Skip to comments.John Schneider: Hockey coach iced, pending fight investigation (ordered kids to fight)
Posted on 10/19/2005 10:28:56 PM PDT by Dan Evans
DIMONDALE - In 38 years as a cop, Bob McClean saw his share of violence.
But the "orchestrated brutality" McClean witnessed last week at The Summit ice arena in Dimondale belongs, he said, to a whole new category.
"I've seen some horrendous things," McClean said, "but never adults ordering kids to beat the hell out of each other."
Based on McClean's complaint and a preliminary review, Jim Cain, who runs the league, said Monday he has suspended a coach while he investigates further.
Cain is manager of both The Summit and Capital Centre Pride, the league under which The Summit hockey teams operate.
"We have reason to believe fighting occurred," Cain said, adding that such conduct would violate rules of both the league and USA Hockey, the governing body of amateur hockey in the United States.
Cain declined to name the coach, pending the outcome of his investigation, but promised a thorough review.
"I'm all over this," he said.
McClean was the DeWitt police chief for seven years, retiring in 2004. Before that, he was a lieutenant with the Lansing Police Department.
He was at The Summit last Tuesday evening to watch his 6-year-old grandson, who's in an instructional hockey league.
McClean noticed, on the rink adjacent to the one his grandson was on, a group of about 20 teenagers in practice hockey gear standing in a semicircle at center ice.
Two or three adults, who appeared to be coaches, stood against the boards, observing.
In the middle of the circle, McClean said, two players who had shed their helmets and gloves were engaged in a fistfight.
"It was not just wrestling or grappling," McClean said.
"One had the other in a headlock and was pounding him in the face with his fist. The fight continued until the loser fell to the ice."
McClean added: "Our first thought was that a fight had erupted during a practice game and the coaches, in a terrible decision, let them fight it out."
But it was worse than that, McClean said.
"To our disgust," he wrote, "when the fight was over, the coaches motioned for two more players to step forward, drop their protective gear and square off."
McClean said he witnessed four or five such fights before it was over.
"We saw a number of kids injured and saw blood on the ice," he added.
McClean said that he contacted me to atone for his failure to stop what he called "coach-sponsored assault."
"I feel guilty for not intervening," he said. "I don't know why I didn't. I guess I was shocked and mesmerized. We need to put a stop to this."
McClean played hockey in his younger years and said he is a fan of the game at all levels. And he happens to think The Summit runs a solid, professional program.
But what he observed last week, he said, shouldn't be part of any game - particularly one involving minors.
McClean said he called The Summit on Thursday and reported what he saw. He said he was told it was "being handled."
However, Cain said Monday that he was not aware of the incident until my phone call.
four or five such fights? where were the referees?