Another in a spate of ugly experiences surrounding Minor Hockey in Canada. This time out of Toronto where the father of a nine year old minor hockey player, found himself in court this morning after an incident over the weekend.
Dad it seems found himself in disagreement with a coach's decision to bench his son for a couple of shifts, due to a missed practice (apparently a common coaching practice). Instead of discussing his concerns away from the game, the father instead jumped the glass at the bench and choked the coach to the point of blacking out. Eventually other parents pulled the man off of the coach, who regained consciousness and then continued on with the game, so as not to cause more distress to his players.
After the game he discussed the situation with his players, trying to reassure them that the world had not really gone mad. While he was providing a positive role model for the nine year olds, the man who choked him spent the night in a Toronto police lock up, pending his appearance in court today.
Greater Toronto Hockey League officials called it one of the most shocking events that they've had to contend with, but it's certainly not the first time a parent has gotten out of control. Just last December a hockey Mom shocked an arena by lifting her top and exposing her breasts to parents and players of an 11 year old match up. There have also been scattered incidents of parents duking it out in the stands over controversial plays and situations, much to the distress of the players on the ice and officials in minor hockey.
Mind you it's not just hockey, pretty well any sport or activity involving kids can bring out the worst in parents, somehow there is a disconnect between the child's enjoyment and the adults expectations.
At the moment Hockey Canada is running commercials reminding parents that "It's Only a game". Go back a few years and there used to be a commercial on TV when I played minor hockey that urged parents to stick around and watch the games.
Sadly, we seem to approaching the point where we'll see commercials suggesting that parents just drop the kids off and come on back after the game!