Parents, Referees Fight at High School Hockey Game

Parents can get really into their kids’ sports games. I know I can remember times I’ve seen a screaming mom or dad in the bleachers. And when parents and referees disagree? You’ve got a breeding ground for a shouting match.

But at a recent high school hockey game in Howell, New Jersey, things turned ugly when some parents and a couple of referees got into an actual physical fight.

According to the Asbury Park Press, the Howell Police Department responded to an argument at Howell Ice World rink that took place during a high school hockey game. The game, the news outlet notes, was a “contentious” one, including a player being knocked unconscious, multiple misconducts and removals, and ultimately, a tied score.

Whatever argument happened during the game continued on. “Following the game,” police reported, “one parent approached two referees regarding the dispute. At this time a physical altercation began and a fourth subject became involved in the altercation.”

Police report those involved suffered minor injuries, like “red marks and bruising to facial area, bloodshot eyes, bruised hand” – plus “complaints of pain,” the Press reports. Two people involved were transported to the Jersey Shore Medical Center while two others refused medical attention.

In a Feb. 9 update from the news outlet, Howell Police Sgt. Christian Autunez mentioned “no arrests have been made nor are there any other updates” – however the case is still being reviewed to see if further investigation is necessary.

While all of this is still developing, there have also been disputes about what actually happened. One of the parents involved tells the Press it was one of the refs who “instigated” the fight – “by calling the mother of one player an obscene name.” That parent says he was acting as a peacekeeper, and that the fight ensued when the husband of the wife insulted heard about the ref’s remark. One of the refs involved has spoken out to say he was one of the two “attacked” by the parents.

Here’s the thing, though. It almost doesn’t matter which side is to blame. They can keep fighting about who started it, but the way I see it, these are four adults who are supposed to be representing their children and their kids’ school – or moderate a kids’ hockey game to ensure fairness and good sportsmanship. All of them should be setting a better example for these kids, who no doubt were aware of what was going on – especially after the police were called.

It’s incredibly ridiculous and unprofessional if the referee was in fact calling a parent an “obscene” name. But if the parents involved really did handle the situation by “attacking,” as the ref claimed, then shame on them, too. This fight got physical somehow, and it’s a shame any player – let alone others attending the game – may have had to witness it.

Do you have any thoughts about this situation? Perhaps an opinion that differs from mine? Comment below and share!

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