Abusive hockey fans a problem in Comox Valley

CVMHA president Win Hunter says his group has zero tolerance policy on abuse of officials

Abusive fans are a problem right across the country

Abuse of referees by fans is an issue that hits home for Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association president Win Hunter.

“I take this abuse issue very seriously because my two grandsons both withdrew as referees (both had been reffing for a couple of years) because of abuse from coaches and fans,” Hunter said.

He notes there are 17 minor hockey associations on Vancouver Island, and all 17 support Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association president Jim Humphrey’s Spectator Free Weekend idea.

“(Fan abuse of on-ice officials) has become a very serious problem up and down the Island. Not any one association, it’s many of them,” Hunter said. “The problem is the loss of referees. We’re losing a couple a hundred referees every year (across the Island) New ones are signing on, but it’s trending downwards. That’s a serious threat.”

Hunter cites a recent incident at a local arena as an example of the problem. “I heard a fan swearing at a young referee down on the ice. He was told to calm down. He swore and said ‘Shut up. This is hockey and this is what we do.’

“He was then told if he didn’t calm down we would stop the game until he left, which is what we do if it comes to that. We stopped the game and the people around him started saying, ‘Hey you’re ruining the game. Leave.’ So he left. He did the walk of shame and walked out because he acted like a fool,” Hunter said.

“It does happen here. We do have a problem. It’s not every game. Competitive hockey is probably the worst, but we do have it in recreational hockey too. I’ve seen it happen it Atom hockey where they’re eight and nine years old. It’s crazy.

“If you can imagine a 50-, 60- or 70-year-old man or woman sitting in the stands screaming obscenities at a 14- or 15-year-old child, you’ve got the picture of what we’re dealing with. It is contemptible,” Hunter said.

He added the CVMHA has zero tolerance for fan abuse of officials. “I’ve struck a subcommittee to bring recommendations forward to the board of directors to address the issue and do what we can to try and eliminate abuse of officials. I’m anticipating some recommendations to come forward at the next meeting in February.

“We’ve already improved the signage, we have talked about perhaps having an announcement at the beginning of every game. We want our parents that go and simply enjoy the game and to feel empowered to tell somebody to calm down and be quiet when they start abusing officials.”

Hunter said it is a minority that ruins things for the majority who go to the rink to enjoy the game and watch their child play. “It’s maybe one per cent, but it only takes one or two people to be very disruptive in the stands and disrupt the game.”

He added, “A fan-free weekend will certainly get people’s attention and make them think about it. A lot of people will be saying, ‘I go to the games and don’t say anything, why am I being punished?’ The point is to get your attention, and then perhaps you’ll help us (by being proactive and) feel empowered to stop the abusers.”

Hunter’s statement on fan abuse of officials can be read on the minor hockey website cvmha.goalline.ca

 

Just Posted

Courtenay supports church renos, lunch program

Council approves $25,000 request from St. George’s United

The Hub Organ Trio coming to Courtenay

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society features an amazing trio at the Avalanche… Continue reading

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

AspieComic Micheal McCreary coming to the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Child Development Association hosting the fundraising event

Kickers beat Meralomas in quarter-final

The Comox Valley Kickers women’s rugby team defeated the Vancouver Meralomas 56-5… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Kickers beat Meralomas in quarter-final

The Comox Valley Kickers women’s rugby team defeated the Vancouver Meralomas 56-5… Continue reading

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read