At first glance, the idea to ban parents from the hockey rink may sound ridiculous.
It happened this week when a Vancouver Island minor hockey association announced they were considering banning people in the stands for a weekend to send a message to incorrigible parents squawking at refs and players on the ice.
On second glance, it may just be a good idea. Especially after finding out that Penticton parents ended up in fisticuffs with the opposing teams’ fans at a tournament in Salmon Arm last weekend (Re: Hockey fight in the stands). It started with a disagreement over a penalty called by the ref and ended with a physical confrontation. This despite the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association saying they make efforts at the beginning of the season to teach parents abuse of officials, players (and we guess next season will include fellow spectators) is not acceptable.
This isn’t a one-off in the world of minor hockey either. In November, a restraining order was placed on a woman who was harassing the Kootenay Ice (WHL), Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and others about her sons’ hockey careers. Earlier this month a Burnaby hockey dad was given a conditional discharge and 12 months probation for threatening a minor hockey player all of nine-years old. One blogger posted a video this week (date of its origin unknown) shot from the stands of a minor hockey game. A parent, from Florida, suddenly stands up in a rage over a ref’s decision and smashes his hand against the glass shattering it. At least one parent commented, “Way to go Paul. That’s classy.”
So maybe having a no spectator weekend might put things into perspective for the parents who dish out thousands of dollars in gear, travel and fees for their kids to play hockey. Hockey is there for kids to participate in organized sport, make friends and have fun.
What fun is it when you have to embarrassingly hang your head low on the ice or in the dressing room when your parents are the ones screaming from the stands? For the sake of the kids, volunteers and referees, keep it classy.