You may not know Gina O'Toole's name, but you've no doubt seen her pink coat, purse and mama grizzly-protecting-her-cub fury.
During a summer youth hockey game between the Boston Raptors and the Connecticut Tribe, a line brawl broke out near the end boards, and was allowed to continue -- one of the officials was literally standing near this pile of aggression, blowing his whistle with his hand on his hip, seemingly apathetic to the chaos.
That's when O'Toole walked out on the ice and into YouTube infamy, as Prep Rally reported: Clutching her purse in one hand and pointing a disapproving finger with the other, she let out her anger with the situation as her 16-year-old son Mark skated away from the fray. For her efforts, she was called out by other parents from the stands as a linesman told her to get off the ice.
On Monday, Gina O'Toole went on "Good Morning America" and explained her actions … and her son's reaction.
O'Toole said the fight had been going on for a good minute before the video kicks in. "I had seen fights before, usually between one or two children, and the refs usually step in immediately. That didn't happen. What concerned me were the blows to the back of the head and a child going down on the ice, a potential head injury," she said.
So O'Toole marched out on the ice. What happened with the on-ice official?
"The ref turned around and he yelled at me and told me to get off the ice and I said, 'You need to do your job!'" she said.
She said parents were screaming to have the refs stop the fight, and she felt she needed to do something. What was their reaction when she returned from the ice? You know, from the fans yelling for her to get off the ice?
"I was told that people were more afraid of me falling and injuring myself," she said.
OK … but what about her son Mark, who just watched his mother walk on the ice to save him from an escalating fight? Any "hit'em with your mom's purse!" catcalls?
"Initially, he thought he was going to be grounded for fighting," she said. "He was a little embarrassed but understands the reasoning for why I went out there to stop it."
O'Toole said Mark had a second game that evening, but that she called her husband to be there for that one. Which is the right thing to do, until the rink can offer her proper theme music the next time she runs into a fight. It really can't be anything other than "Mama Said Knock You Out," can it?
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