As a referee, you get to watch a lot of hockey.
You get to see the good plays and the bad plays, the clean checks and the not so clean checks.
Sometimes, you see something that puts a queer taste in your mouth, as they say.
I had full intention of writing this column to discuss stadium chatter and the art of trash talk from the stands.
It was going to center around one of the Ceebees faithful who decided to ignore the spelling of Darren Langdon’s last name and whose favourite phrase was “You’re not in the NHL now Langlon!”
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Earlier this month, the Bay Arena played host to a midget house league game. Now, house league is usually a tame, fun affair between two teams, but what happened this night, in my opinion anyway, makes a travesty of the game.
Let me first declare my personal involvement in the incident I am about to describe. I am a member of the Bay Arena referee’s association, and I was linseman for this particular game.
With about four minutes left on the clock, one player, we’ll call him “Bruce,” decided he had had enough playing against the other team, and wanted to play with them. He figured he’d have a laugh at his teammates’ expense to set up the players on the other team for prime scoring opportunities, which they finished.
Within seconds, Bruce had “assisted” on a handful of goals on his own net. C’mon man! Being that Bruce took the faceoff for his team kept him accessible to the puck, something I tried to rectify by kicking him out of the circle every time I dropped the puck.
Some might say to me, “well it’s only house league. It’s not supposed to be serious anyway.”
Well, I would say you’re missing the point.
The point is that Bruce made a travesty out of the game. He showed a lack of respect for the game and his teammates. He was being selfish — he even celebrated with the other team once they had scored.
Yes, house league is not the most serious of skates, but does that call for a mockery? No, it doesn’t, and here’s why.
From the time you first lace up skates, you’re taught to compete, while having fun. You’re taught a game does not include competing for the other team. You’re taught to respect the game and your teammates.
Bruce failed to display either of the above points.
Now, it’s undeniable Bruce plays other forms of hockey — he seems to be a good player. He probably plays high school hockey and he definitely plays all-star hockey at either the bantam or midget level.
Bruce probably feels like house league is below him.
At the Bay Arena, in order to play all- star, you have to play house league. It’s something he has to do, not necessarily what he wants to do, and his actions reflected that.
What Bruce failed to realize is that while he has other hockey to play, there are players who can count house league as their only game. It is something they look forward too every week, and it is being ruined because of some fella trying to be “funny.”
I applaud the coach for tearing a strip off the player for his actions.
What should have been done? A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct could have been called, but it is a bit light.
I’d settle for a suspension.