Criminal charges considered after peewee hockey brawl

A black eye for minor hockey in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Criminal charges have been recommended following a peewee hockey brawl in Winnipeg, but police say they haven’t decided if there will be any arrests.

Const. Jason Michalyshen said Wednesday that Crown prosecutors reviewed the case and suggested charges.

He wouldn’t detail the recommendations.

The Winnipeg Free Press has reported that justice officials believe assault charges should be laid against a coach and two 12-year-old players.

“We’re not committing to any charges to any one or more individuals involved, whether it be players, officials or coaching staff,” Michalyshen said.

“There are a few more components of this investigation that have to be completed before that final decision as to how we proceed with charges or whether or not we proceed with charges.”

The on-ice scuffle took place during a February game between teams from the Sagkeeng and Brokenhead Ojibwa First Nations.

A video shot from the stands that was posted to YouTube shows that a referee was trying to break up a skirmish when he fell on top of a Sagkeeng player. The 12-year-old ended up breaking his wrist.

One player then swung his stick at the referee’s head and an adult jumped off the bench and onto the referee. The referee eventually broke free and slammed his helmet down as he skated off the ice.

The brawl continued off the ice, said one witness, and police were called.

Michalyshen described the case as unique and said a decision on charges would be made in the “near future.”

The Southeast Tribal Council, which organized the tournament, announced earlier this month that a coach and a player from the Sagkeeng team would face suspensions. Officials did not say how long the suspensions would be.

A handful of violent outbursts at hockey games involving Manitoba teams have made headlines in recent months.

Three players with the Lake Manitoba Eagles bantam team were recently suspended for attacking officials in March. One of the players, a 14-year-old girl, received a one-year suspension for punching one referee in the head and another in the groin.

In February, two Winnipeg hockey parents reportedly got into a fight with coaches from an opposing team in their dressing room in Fargo, N.D. An organizer said the altercation happened in front of several players who were seven and eight years old.

Hockey Winnipeg has banned the husband and wife from minor hockey rinks for three years. The couple is appealing the decision.

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