A Vancouver Island minor hockey league has taken a hard stance against verbal harassment against its on-ice officials.
According to various news outlets, the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association banned eight parents from attending games this weekend following “several internal investigations into a recent rash of offensive spectator behaviour.”
“This is embarrassing on these children that their parents behave this way,” said Jim Humphrey, VIAHA president for the past six years.
Humphrey said he hopes the move sends a message to parents that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.
“You’ve got to treat people with respect,” he said.
“Minor sports cannot be different than anyplace else in society — you have to behave and if you can’t behave don’t bother showing up.”
It’s a problem familiar in most rinks across Canada and one that has garnered attention on the Vancouver Island league for a couple months. In January, the league considered banning all spectators for a weekend, but decided to instead focus on the ones who were being abusive.
According to CTV News, this problem has also caused the league to lose several officials, with Humphrey telling the Vancouver station “In the last seven weeks we’ve probably lost 20 officials already.”
It’s unfortunate how common of a problem this is in the minor hockey world, but stories like this can be used as a reminder of how persistent the issue is.
Once again: minor hockey is for kids to have fun and make life-long memories in, not for overzealous parents to ruin with hyper-competitiveness.