Youth hockey ref arrested for breach of peace for escorting ejected player from ice

Ben Rohrbach
Connecticut youth hockey referee Stephen Levins
Connecticut youth hockey referee Stephen Levins, 55, faces multiple charges stemming from his ejection of a player. (Cromwell Police Department)

A Connecticut youth hockey referee is facing breach of peace charges for physically escorting an ejected player off the ice, according to reports from NBC Connecticut and the Associated Press.

Stephen Levins, 55, called a match penalty during a game between 13- and 14-year-olds in Cromwell, Conn., and the offender "became angry and tried to take it out on the referee," opponents told NBC.

"There was a face-off and the player got mad," opposing player Tyler Humel of Terryville (Conn.) told the TV news station, "so he took a shot at the ref's head with the puck."

When Levins skated to the bench to physically escort the ejected player from the ice, teammates and parents confronted the referee and called 911, according to the reports. Players from both teams were sent to the locker rooms in order to shield them from the ensuing altercation. Police reportedly would not comment on the physical nature of the incident other than to say it "went beyond the typical" force.

Lvins is reportedly out on $5,000 bail and faces charges of breaching of peace and risking injury to a minor.

Parents of a 12-year-old boy are reportedly considering legal action against a referee for a similar incident in Winnipeg, Canada. That ref allegedly fell on the boy while attempting to restrain him following an on-ice cheap shot, breaking the youth's wrist. Coaches and parents also exacerbated that incident.

The line between properly disciplining a young hockey player who has lost control and using excessive force in the eyes of his parents seems to be growing finer by the day. Whether either of these referees crossed it certainly appears open to interpretation.