Sunday, December 06, 2009

Hockey Dads from Hell

“These tournaments are about the boys, they're about the kids having fun and learning from example how to be good gentlemen, how to work hard for their teams, how to be professional and how to be respectful. What happened here kind of flies in the face of what we're all trying to accomplish.” -- Bob Harrington, director of the 38th Annual December Shootout, a New York State tournament which will be thinking twice about invites in the future and hoping that parent's one day learn from their kids about sportsmanship and good behaviour.

The Cobourg Minor Hockey League bantam team probably won't be getting any more invitations and some of the parents of the lads on the team may have to stay in New York State longer than planned, that after Niagara Falls, New York police arrested a number of hockey dad's from Canada after a reported string of obnoxious behaviour in a local hotel.

Bringing out the worst of the hockey culture, three Canadian men have spent the weekend in jail after what appears to have been an alleged alcohol fueled brawl with police in Niagara Falls.

Players from Coburg's Bantam A program were in Niagara Falls for the three day tournament and while the youth from all accounts were apparently on their best behaviour, the same certainly can't be said for those that accompanied them.

The head coach, assistant coach and a team parent all were arrested after a number of complaints and incidents at the Niagara Falls Holiday Inn, with bail set from between 2500 to 10,000 dollars, there's a chance that a few of the so called adults will be spending more time in Niagara Falls while they attempt to raise their cash bond.

Members of the Eire County sheriffs department ended up requesting assistance from the State Police and the US Border Patrol to bring the incident under control and the Ontario hockey dads into custody.

The incident is the latest in a number of now high profile problems streaming from the case files of organized hockey in Ontario, where perhaps it might be time for the kids to return to the outdoor rink days of unsupervised sport, considering that the organized version seems to be getting a little bit disorganized.

As for the Shoot out Tournament, organizer Bob Harrington said he will not invite the team or its coaching staff back to his tournament, though he did outline how he didn't want to punish the hockey players for the behaviour of the adults of the group.

The organizers may wish to take a look at their activities list however stemming from this event, in among the events listed on the Shootout website, is the "Adult party" where as it states, "The tournament hosts a parent party every Friday from 9PM-1AM. To keep the partly lively we provide complimentary beer and entertainment. Please be prepared to sing to your hearts content, as the DJ will take Karaoke request throughout the night."

Temptation as they say is a dangerous thing, especially when there is no adult supervision, for the adults...

As for the now incarcerated coaches and parent, one suspects that even if they wanted to, once they work their way through the justice system in the US, it may be a little harder to cross that border in the future anyways. Described by New York officials as 'belligerent, obnoxious, intoxicated Ontario men' they have no doubt made quite an impression and those US Border guards probably have a long memory.

As for Cobourg Minor Hockey, the may wish to keep a lower profile for the next little while, the spotlight is going to be on their program and the less than glowing reputation it received over the weekend.

Globe and Mail-- Minor-league coaches, hockey dad brawl at bar
Toronto Sun-- Major trouble at minor tourney
Northumberland Today-- Cobourg minor bantam hockey coaches, parent charged in New York State hotel bar disturbance
Buffalo News-- Hockey dads held in hotel brawl
This item first appeared in the Hockey Nation blog

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