Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Hockey player, coach suspended for fight at Winnipeg tourney

CBC News

First Nations leaders are punishing a coach and player for their part in a violent hockey game in Winnipeg.

Both the coach and player are from the Sagkeeng Hawks team, which was part of the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament in February.

The Southeast Tribal Council, which hosts the annual tournament, said the player and coach will be suspended, though the length of the suspension was not revealed.

They council did not say what they are being suspended from — whether it is all future tournaments or just the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament.

As well, the STC did not name the player or coach.

The Southeast Aboriginal Tournament was held at the Southdale Community Centre on Feb. 15-16. The incident happened on the 16th during a game between Sagkeeng and a team from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

A video taken at the game and posted to YouTube shows referees stepping in to stop a scuffle between a player from each team.

After the players are separated and while making their way back to their team benches, the 12-year-old player from Sagkeeng, Kainen Bell, uses his stick to slash the other player on the back of the legs.

As the two players begin fighting again, a referee skates in to break it up. He grabs Bell but appears to slip, knocking the boy to the ground as they both fall.

An assistant coach from Sagkeeng then runs onto the ice and goes after the 22-year-old referee while other officials and coaches rush to the melee.

Bell and his mom claim the ref picked Bell up from under the arms and slammed him onto the ice. In the wake of the incident, Bell's parents were calling for the referee to be disciplined and criminally charged.

There is no word on whether any further suspensions or charges are coming against anyone at the tournament.

Growing violence

The STC said the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament is one example of the growing hockey violence involving Manitoba teams.

The council said players and coaches, as well as parents, need to remember it's a game involving children.

They are calling for people to be more respectful and hope to speak with hockey governing bodies in the province about how to spread that message.

"We want tolerance to be practised by both players and spectators," said Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Chief Jim Bear.

First Nations leaders will speak with players, coaches and officials to try and bring fun back to the game, Bear said.

On March 30, RCMP were called when a championship game between the Stonewall Blues and a team from the Lake Manitoba First Nation erupted into a brawl.

Police said one of the referees was allegedly struck by a 14-year-old player, and some parents were fighting in the stands.

The game was stopped, and about 100 people had to leave the arena, but no one was hurt, according to RCMP.

In February, a fistfight broke out between parents and coaches from two Winnipeg teams during a kids hockey tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.

The parents of a player from the River East Royals team got upset and stormed into the Lord Selkirk dressing room following a game between the teams.

Punches were allegedly thrown in front of the eight-year-old players, according to Monte Miller, the executive director of Hockey Winnipeg, the city's minor hockey governing body, which is investigating that incident.

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