Thursday, October 20, 2005

Orchestrated Brutality

Hockey's Dark Side

This kind of B.S. really turns my stomach.

Hockey violence which is so much a accepted part of the tradition and culture of the sport sometimes steps way over the line. This is one of those times.

Hockey coaches "ordering kids" to beat the hell out of each other.
Watching fistfights

McClean was the DeWitt police chief for seven years, retiring in 2004. Before that, he was a lieutenant with the Lansing Police Department.
He was at The Summit last Tuesday evening to watch his 6-year-old grandson, who's in an instructional hockey league.
McClean noticed, on the rink adjacent to the one his grandson was on, a group of about 20 teenagers in practice hockey gear standing in a semicircle at center ice.
Two or three adults, who appeared to be coaches, stood against the boards, observing.
In the middle of the circle, McClean said, two players who had shed their helmets and gloves were engaged in a fistfight.
"It was not just wrestling or grappling," McClean said.
"One had the other in a headlock and was pounding him in the face with his fist. The fight continued until the loser fell to the ice."
McClean added: "Our first thought was that a fight had erupted during a practice game and the coaches, in a terrible decision, let them fight it out."

But it was worse than that, McClean said.

"To our disgust," he wrote, "when the fight was over, the coaches motioned for two more players to step forward, drop their protective gear and square off."
McClean said he witnessed four or five such fights before it was over.

"We saw a number of kids injured and saw blood on the ice," he added.

Making amends

McClean said that he contacted me to atone for his failure to stop what he called "coach-sponsored assault."
"I feel guilty for not intervening," he said. "I don't know why I didn't. I guess I was shocked and mesmerized. We need to put a stop to this."
Here's more from another article on this story from the Lansing State Journal.
Debi Haigh of Eagle, at The Summit with her 9-year-old daughter, said she saw the same thing McClean saw.

"I was stunned," Haigh said. "One boy took a heck of a beating. He skated to the side holding his nose and wiping tears."
We usually don't find out about this kind of crap, it's done for the most part in secret and the kids are intimidated into silence by the very real fear of retaliation. When it does surface like in this instance I think the so-called adults involved should be dealt with severly.

Michigan law allows prosecution of anyone who encourages minors to engage in assault. I think they should apply that law in this case.

Update 10-21-05:
A youth hockey coach who allegedly ordered his players to go at each other with bare knuckles at an Oct. 11 practice session is under investigation by Michigan State Police.

Police became involved after the mother of one of the fighters filed a formal complaint, according to Detective Sgt. Kyle McPhee of the Lansing Post.

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