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Brutal Canadian youth hockey beating leads parent to question culture of hockey

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

After what can only be described as a "brutal beating" of their son during a Canadian youth hockey game and the perceived ensuing missteps by authorities, Wes and Julie Major have gone public to CBC News with video of what they consider an assault.

As first noted by Prep Rally's brotherly Canadian junior hockey blog Buzzing the Net, with a 7-2 lead at home in January over Ontario major midget 'A' hockey rival Brantford, Woodstock's Nick Major, 16, chased a puck into the offensive zone and stopped short as the Brantford net-minder covered it. Essentially, he "snowed the goalie," a hockey move where an offensive player rushes in on a goalie at full speed and sprays him snowy ice powder when the goalie leans over to cover the puck.

Even Woodstock manager Maria Velda admitted in a letter to Alliance Hockey, "I've observed many games where this very thing happens and the player receives an unsportsmanlike penalty or perhaps a shove by the goalie and it's left at that."

Only the teenaged Major didn't just get shoved. He got crosschecked, had his helmet removed and received a dozen blows to the head from a player with a history of fighting. Major did not fight back and somehow skated off the ice on his own volition.

Said Julie Major: "I felt, right from seeing it happen, my son has been assaulted."

Except, both Major and the unnamed Brantford player were suspended for fighting, according to the CBC report. The former received a two-game suspension while the latter earned a four-game hiatus as the result of a previous such incident on his record. Of course, Major also faced 2-3 weeks of recovery from concussion symptoms.

So, the Majors presented their video to both the league and police. While the league rescinded Nick's suspension, the instigator's penalty remained unchanged and police are yet to take action five months later, effectively condoning the fight as part of hockey.

"If this is part of hockey then we don’t want to be part of it," Wes Major told CBC. "I think that attitudes have to change."

Exhibit A: In the Brantford player's return to the ice, he received a penalty for checking a foe to the head, according to the report. His opponent? Woodstock. While the league then suspended the player indefinitely, he has since been reinstated for showing remorse.

Exhibit B, oddly: Nick Major is no different than most hockey players. He's a tough kid. And he'll continue playing the sport he loves, hoping instead his parents end the pursuit.

"This type of conduct is unacceptable," Alliance Hockey executive director Tony Martindale told CBC News. "When I grew up, it was unfortunately a lot about intimidation. That’s the culture that we have to change, because that culture leads to incidents that we are talking about now. We have to eliminate that old school mentality."

Easier said than done, apparently, as he's one of the men molding Canadian youth hockey.

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