Chaos occurred during a Junior A Hockey League game in London, Ontario over the weekend as a ridiculous fight broke out, culminating in a referee punching a player, and a coach clotheslining the official to the ice. Here is video of the melee followed by a breakdown of the incident:
— Tim Gane (@thetimgane) January 18, 2016
First things first, No. 73 (player who got punched by referee) got things started by completely destroying the opposing team’s goalie with a blindside hit. As everybody who plays hockey knows, you do NOT touch or hit the other team’s goalie unless you want to start a melee. That is exactly what No. 73 did, and he paid for it.
After the fight had seemingly been broken up, this referee seems to grow irritated that No. 73 is still trying to keep the fight going. At first, the referee attempts to lock in No. 73’s arms, but then out of nowhere the referee grabs him by the jersey and cold cocks him to the ice. It wasn’t the most devastating punch, but whenever a 40-something-year-old referee hits a 17-19-year-old kid, it is never going to suit well with the player’s teammates or coaches.
Following No. 73 getting knocked to the ice by the referee, one of the coaches for the London Lakers (No. 73’s team) charges out onto the ice and tackles the referee, before being escorted off by another official. No. 73’s teammates slam their sticks on the boards and cheer as their coach is escorted off the ice.
This is disgraceful for all three people involved: No. 73, the referee, and the coach. No. 73 should have known to stop, especially after the fight was broken up, but he kept trying to keep the fight going. A referee should never make contact with a player unless they are trying to break up a fight. At the time of the ref hitting No. 73, the fight had already been broken up, so there is no reason for the referee to grab No. 73 by his jersey and punch him to the ice. As for the coach, what is there really to say? Charging out onto the ice to try and fight a referee is never a good look. Granted, the coach had reason to stick up for one of his players, but maybe reporting the referee to the league office would have been a better move, no?
It is hard to see this ending well for either of the three parties involved. No. 73 will likely get some type of suspension while it would surprise very few if the referee is no longer allowed to officiate in this specific league. The coach, meanwhile, has likely lost his privilege to be behind the bench. Ugly incident, but that’s hockey, especially in Canada where junior league games turn into a full-scale war by the snap of a finger.