Player who attacked official during game banned from Hockey Quebec, Hockey Canada
A young hockey player who attacked a 15-year-old linesman during an under-18 game in the Eastern Townships will no longer be allowed to play in a league or participate in any events or games managed by Hockey Quebec or Hockey Canada.
The regional disciplinary committee of Hockey Estrie made the decision in the wake of the March 13 attack.
The player, a member of the Sherbrooke Phoenix U-18 hockey team, punched a young official in the face as the linesman was attempting to accompany him off the ice after he was expelled by a referee during a game against the Dynamik de Coaticook.
Rémi Meunier, general manager of Hockey Estrie, says while the teenager was coming to the end of his time in minor league hockey, he still would have had a chance to play junior hockey without this ban.
“That puts an end to that,” he said.
The banned player can still appeal the decision.
WATCH | Footage captures attack on 15-year-old linesman during U18 hockey game:
Meunier says he hopes the decision prompts the player to reflect on his actions.
“Will this youngster ask himself if he belongs on the ice? […] We learn a lot through sports. Is this the right context for this young person to learn to become a better individual?”
Dominic Tremblay, the father of the young linesman who was assaulted, believes the disciplinary committee made the right decision.
“As a father, I take it with great satisfaction. As a referee, I take it with relief,” he said.
Setting a precedent, sending a message
Jean-François Lapointe, head referee for Hockey Estrie, said an attack of this sort is not something he wants to see repeated and said the disciplinary committee’s decision should serve as a warning to players.
“This kind of decision […] sends a message to the players, to the coaches: We do not touch an official. If you’re not happy, there are other ways to make your point,” he said.
Tremblay, the linesman’s father, agrees.
“I hope it will become the norm in sport: Each time you touch an official, this is the sanction that applies.”
Lapointe says a great deal of effort is being made to raise awareness about violence against referees, but admits it’s still not enough. He fears these type of events will hamper efforts to recruit officials in the face of a Canada-wide referee shortage.
“Unfortunately, there are still people, players, coaches and even parents who don’t get the message,” he said.
“We’re going to run out of officials. There are young people, aged 14, 15, who try refereeing and are shouted at by coaches and parents.”
Despite the attack, Tremblay said his son was not seriously scarred by the experience and has since started refereeing recreational games.
“As soon as he has the opportunity to continue in minor hockey, he will do it again with pleasure,” he said.