Alberta men charged with assault after Lethbridge youth hockey tournament brawl
Lethbridge police have charged two people after an incident in which a referee and coach were assaulted during a youth hockey tournament.
According to the Lethbridge Police Service, a verbal fight happened between a 10-year-old player and a 51-year-old referee at end of a game at the Crossings Ice Centre on Sunday afternoon that escalated into a physical altercation.
It’s alleged the young player struck the ref twice with his stick. In response, police said the ref pushed the boy to the ice.
WATCH: Video shows brawl with referee at Lethbridge hockey tournament.
What followed was caught on camera by someone watching the game.
Video circulating on social media shows a group of adults, including coaches, come on to the ice — many with street shoes on — apparently in the player’s defense. They’re seen heading towards and pushing the referee before three of them, including the ref, fall to the ice.
The opposing team’s coach was shoved to the ice, police said. The ref was punched multiple times by two men, one of whom was a relative of the boy involved in the earlier altercation, according to police. The fight was then broken up.
The organizer of the hockey tournament, High Performance Hockey (HPH), posted a statement on Facebook following the incident saying “actions like this have no place in our game.”
“The Quest for the Cup tournament is an opportunity for players to enjoy the game of hockey with their friends,” the association said. “For that reason, we are especially disappointed to see an act like this occur.”
HPH went on to say it was cooperating with police as part of their investigation.
Hockey Alberta weighed in on the situation, saying: “In this particular case, it’s something that isn’t under our jurisdiction so we still believe that because of what happened in the game, there might be a responsibility for us to take a look into it a little bit more,” Rob Litwinski with Hockey Alberta said. “It definitely changes things for us a little bit that way.”
Police said Monday the relative of the player involved in the fight, Robert Farrell Creighton of Standoff, Alta., was arrested following the incident and charged with one count of assault. He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 9.
On Tuesday, the LPS said a second man who allegedly attacked the referee, 36-year-old Todd William Cross Child of Lethbridge, had turned himself in to police. He is charged with two counts of assault and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 9.
“No further charges are anticipated in this case,” a news release stated.
WATCH: Video of hockey confrontation between referee and parents in Lethbridge makes waves in hockey community.
The 10-year-old player was examined by EMS and didn’t sustain any injuries, police said. The ref and coach both had non-life-threatening injuries.
Lethbridge police said the tournament organizer has been fully cooperative with the investigation.
As footage of the incident circulated on social media, many commented on the aggression seen in the short clip, saying those involved should receive a lifetime ban from the association.
– With a file from Global News’ Josh Ritchie
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