The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association is defending itself after game officials accused parents and the coaching staff of verbal abuse.
The incident arose during Bantam Hurricanes road game in Hague, Sask. On Jan. 26.
According to reports from Chris Vandenbreekel at CKOM, Referee Kyle Chudyk said the officiating crew felt the Jan. 26 game was no longer safe for them after fans allegedly swore, hurled insults and threatened them.
The officials ended the game with 18 minutes to go in the third period.
“We felt that the game was no longer deemed a safe hockey game,” Chudyk told CKOM.
The referees involved were suspended from officiating bantam-level games in the Sask. Valley Minor Hockey League for the remainder of the season, as they failed to follow proper procedure.
Prince Albert head coach Bill Hoko was ejected for harassing officials. He was later suspended for three games.
The RCMP confirmed they were called to the rink to keep the peace, however a spokesperson said the force determined the issue was not a police matter.
When pressed further, the spokesperson declined to give further details as to whether there was verbal abuse or other unrest at the rink.
The Hurricanes team manager and a parent both told CKOM that they didn’t hear any swearing from the stands and that the referees were on a power trip.
They also said they felt the officials were calling penalties unfairly.
Another team official told PA Now it isn’t fair to paint all the fans with the same brush.
The minor hockey association did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
When reached by phone, Hague coach Lyle Funk was reluctant to comment on what happened.
“I didn’t hear everything. I can’t say what was said, but there were definitely things being said,” he observed.
Funk said it’s rare for fans and coaches to get out of hand with how they address game officials.
“It was more out of hand than I would prefer to see,” he commented.
Funk was surprised when the officials called the game early.
“I’d never been in a situation like that,” he remarked.