WINNIPEG – Canadian hockey fans are seeing the problem of verbal abuse during kids’ games getting worse.
According to a survey by Angus Reid Institute, nine in ten young hockey fans say verbally abusive spectators are a serious problem.
“We do see it happening, the thing for us though is that it’s not the general population,” said executive director of Hockey Winnipeg Monte Miller. “We seem to have the same sort of 20 per cent hockey population that always comes across our desk.”
The survey shows that 59 per cent of fans have seen referees deal with inappropriate language at games and 49 per cent have seen parents yelling at kids.
“I think usually the harshest experiences come for spectators… I’ve often seen spectators who often say things that instigate some of the players reactions which is unfortunate,” said hockey fan Aaron Benarroch.
According to the survey, more young hockey fans are seeing the problem of verbal abuse during games get worse instead of better. Six out of every 10 adults say the behavior they see is staying the same.
Hockey Winnipeg introduced it’s respect in sport program for coaches and parents last year. They say it’s too early to tell if it’s cut down on players and referees being abused.
“This is sort of an issue that we’ve been dealing with over the last couple of years and we’ve tried to institute some policies,” said Miller.
Hoping to play Canada’s game without the distractions.