Referee in hot water
WINNIPEG—A 12-year-old hockey player and his parents are shaken up after he suffered a broken wrist when he was taken down hard to the ice by a referee trying to break up a fight.
Kainen Bell was hurt in the dying minutes of a semi-final game between PeeWee teams from the Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation and the Sagkeeng First Nation as part of the Southeast Winter Tribal Days annual hockey tournament in Winnipeg on Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s right.”
Sagkeeng coach Stephanie Tardiff said Brokenhead was on its way to a 4-0 victory when a fracas started around the Sagkeeng net.
As the referees pulled the kids apart, Tardiff said a Brokenhead player skated in front of the Sagkeeng bench and taunted the players.
A video from the stands posted to YouTube showed a tense scene, with a parent screaming “get your hands off my kids” from the stands as officials broke up the kids in front of the net.
Kainen, in a white jersey, appears to slash the Brokenhead player in front of the bench and the two began punching each other.
That’s when one of the referees appeared to grab Kainen from behind and take him down to the ice—falling on top of him.
“He should have easily been able to separate the two of them,” Tardiff said.
“Instead of separating them properly, he grabbed my player with both hands and threw him on the ice.
“That ref should have never put two hands on one player,” Tardiff added. “He should have put one hand on one player, one hand on the other player and separated them properly.”
Robert Bell took his own video of what happened to his son, and he says it shows the referee grabbing Kainen “by the back of the armpits and twirling, pivoting, slamming him on the ice,” he told CTV Winnipeg.
As the player and the referee fell to the ice, another player slammed his stick on the referee’s head, the crowd erupted in a rage, and an adult jumped off the bench to tussle with the referee.
The referee managed to break free of the scuffle and slammed his helmet down as he left the ice to a shower of expletives from the fans.
Police were called and are investigating. No charges have been laid.