It was a sad day in youth sports last Saturday, December 3. A day that has left me feeling kind of sick.
We were playing a regular game. With 6 minutes left on the clock, tied game, there was a scuffle in front of the net. Whistle blown, opposite team player skates towards his bench. Next thing I see is the referee grab our player by the collar and throw him to the ice.
Our player's helmet came partially off when he hit, he pulled it the rest of the way off. He was rolling on the ground, holding his head and crying out. The arena was silent for a moment.
Our coaches had some words with the three referees and then sent our players off of the ice. A decision I would have also made for the safety of our players and had he not made that decision, I would have pulled Max from the ice myself.
Paramedics were called, as were the police and the end result was our player has a concussion. He will not be allowed back on the ice until a doctor clears him which could be quite awhile from what I understand.
Our coach is now suspended until a hearing can be held because it is against league rules to end a game before the clock runs out.
I don't know what is happening to the referee, who apparently was a "high ranking official" as of now.
What I do know is this...I saw this man grab our player. I saw this man throw him to the ice. There is no doubt in my mind that this was an intentional act. I have watched a LOT of hockey over the years and I have never seen anything as brutal or as blatant as this in regard to a referee.
I am also not that Mom, that crazy, "my kid doesn't do anything wrong" or "the referee's are stupid" kind of Mom. I realize that we are going to encounter questionable calls. That they miss something or make the wrong call. It's part of the game and not only do I accept that, I have taught my kids that what a referee or umpire calls is the last word. Move on with the game.
I further realize that hockey is a full contact sport. Your kid could get hurt. Do I like it? Absolutely not. Would I prefer he play baseball year round? I wouldn't mind it. But Max picked up a stick when he was 2 years old and never looked back. He knows that it's part of the game and he tries to play smart so he doesn't get hurt. He is 14 years old and he knows how to run a hot bath with Epsom Salts and to use a bag of frozen corn for a sore muscle because he wants to skate the next day.
But what brings me to this post??
The local news ran a story about the incident.
And, the comments that were posted made me feel as sick as the day this happened. Several idiots, yes, I said IDIOTS, posting that the kid probably lipped off and basically deserved it.
Here is a direct quote from one such idiot who says that he has been a coach and referee for 45 years, "Refs do not push innocent players around. Now troublemakers who arent repsonding to commands, different story. Especially with 13-14 year old boys".
When is it ever OK to grab a player and throw him to the ground? I don't care if that kid said something that would make my ears burn, you don't physically throw a child to the ice!
So...we wait and hope that justice is served and that Max never encounters such a thing on the ice because I can pretty much guarantee the headline would be, "Hockey Mom arrested after referee assaults her son".