There will be no more youth hockey in one Quebec town after a hockey association canceled the remainder of the season for all teams that use its facility after multiple players from its 16 and 17-year-old squad brutally attacked a referee following a recent game.
As first reported by CTV Montreal and later covered by the Toronto Sun, the Kahnawake (Quebec) Hockey Association canceled the remainder of the season for all teams that use its facility as a base after six to eight members of its 16 and 17-year-old Minors squad attacked referee Frederic Ouellette following his ejection of a Kahnawake player during the third period of a recent game.
According to another referee who was working the game, Ouellette kicked a Kahnawake player out of the game when the player shot a puck at the referee.
While that should have ended any confrontations between the referees and players, it didn't. Instead, what unfolded after the game was a nightmare, as described by the other unnamed second official.
"After the game, the same player wanted to get at Fred, so I intervened, his coaches arrived and ordered the player to go to his locker room."
The teens briefly locked the referees in the room and after they opened the door, the melee began.
"About six or seven others people entered the room and pushed me very hard. Me and Carl tried to keep the guys from Fred. I saw Carl on the ground and the guys were holding him down. I cried out a few times to leave him alone. Then two guys told me to do nothing or else I'd get the same treatment. At no time did I hit anybody, nor did Carl and Fred," he said.
Incredibly, the referee may have been saved when the attacking teens were scared off by the least intimidating users of the rink: a Midget A girls team. With the girls entering the rink space to get ready for one of their own games, the Minors players dissipated to avoid anyone else noticing what they had done.
One 17-year-old player has already been charged with assault in connection with the incident, while others could be charged in the coming days.
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Of course, the implications of the fight have now stretched far beyond the team involved. As Kahnawake Minor Hockey Association president Peter Jacobs told CTV, the organization is now investigating numerous possible future changes to minimize the chance that such an ugly incident might unfold again, including adding additional security staff or installing a security camera.
In the meantime, Jacobs acknowledged that canceling the season for teams who weren't even involved in the fracas might be unfair, though he defended the hockey association's decision based on the severity of the attack.
"It's not really fair to the other teams but I also back up the referees," Jacobs told CTV. "They have legitimate concerns and it's up to us to guarantee anybody's safety who comes here."
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