For the first time in 19 years, organizers of the Source for Sports AAA Hockey Challenge have suspended a player indefinitely from their spring and summer hockey tournaments.
Tournament director Darryl Wolski handed the suspension to a 15-year-old player from Winnipeg for reportedly slashing a lineman with his stick during the championship final of the 1997 age group division on Sunday at Westman Place. The player in question, who was selected in this year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft, was being escorted off the ice following his ejection from the game.
The player will no longer be allowed to take part in spring and summer AAA Challenge tournaments held in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota.
“This is the first time I have done this in 19 years,” Wolski said. “We just don’t go out of our way to suspend players, but if we don’t show any kind of discipline, we won’t have referees. If you have no referees, you have no games, you have no tournament. Some people might think it’s extreme, but they can think what they want ...
“An hour and half after (the incident) I emailed every tournament director in our region so they knew about it and they all responded by saying ‘Thanks Darryl, we will not let this kid play here.’”
Wolski said it was one of the worst incidents that has occurred in his two decades of running summer hockey, which is unsanctioned by Hockey Manitoba or Hockey Canada from April 15 to Sept. 1.
“I guess given the history of the player at the tournament on the weekend, it didn’t surprise me,” Wolski said.
Wolski said he instructed the officials to call a tight game to ensure a clean final, with tournament rules calling for the ejection of any player who takes three penalties in a game.
“The player here took exception to the rule and then when he was being escorted off the ice, he didn’t like the fact that it was his third minor of the game and he was thrown out and decided to vent some anger on the official and the official got hit high with a baseball bat swing,” he said. “We have photos of the referee’s injury and his whole hip is black and blue today.”
In addition to the indefinite suspension, Wolski said the incident may become a matter for the authorities.
“There has been no charges, to my knowledge, that have been laid yet, but (the official) is contemplating them,” he said.
The tournament was the second of three spring/summer events in Brandon, with another set for July 5-8.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 31, 2012