yet one more heart warming youth hockey story…


1 Response to “yet one more heart warming youth hockey story…”

  1. February 22, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Boxing matches between teens staged in minor hockey locker rooms are widespread, say hockey coaches and parents.

    Known as locker boxing, young men wearing hockey gloves and helmets square off for fisticuffs in what some parents and coaches call a part of youth hockey culture in Ontario.

    “My son experienced the same type of behaviour on his team,” wrote hockey dad Dino Sestito in an email, among more than 130 that came in response to a Saturday Star story about recent locker boxing bouts involving 15-year-old Vaughan Panther players.

    “I believe this has more to do about lack of parenting skills than a hockey issue. We try to teach our kids what’s right and wrong. Unfortunately, there are parents who fail in their responsibility to raise their child appropriately.”

    Heated debate over the practice exploded on thestar.com, which featured amateur video of Panther teens flinging haymakers and jabs at the heads of their teammates.

    “To anyone who has coached, this practice is not at all new in spite of efforts by coaches to convince the players that there is a potential for injury,” said a Greater Toronto Hockey League coach who asked not to be named. “Hitting the metal clothing hooks in the dressing room (these are thick 4-5 inch metal spikes sticking out of the wall at head or shoulder height) or falling onto skates are the real dangers.”

    When the Panther video began to spread in the minor hockey community over the past three weeks, several parents raised concerns.

    The Panthers’ coach, Dave Castellani, responded by suspending himself and five players involved in the fights for a single game.

    The GTHL accepted the coach’s ban and imposed no further sanction of its own. Calling the incident a “life lesson for me,” Castellani told the Star his club wanted to focus on educating players about appropriate conduct rather than impose stiff suspensions. That, said many Sunday, is a “joke.”

    “Letting the coach impose his own one-game suspension is laughable,” said Buck Anger of Dunnville, Ont.

    “This guy should be suspended for the balance of the year and the league should review whether he should ever be able to coach again.”

    Many other parents took a different position.

    “This video amounts to nothing more than a bunch of goofy, immature boys pretending they are George St. Pierre,” wrote Terri Thomas. “It’s no different than what happens in basement rec rooms around the country on a daily basis.”

    Many parents and coaches also debated the GTHL policy – identical to other minor hockey leagues – to withhold the disciplinary records of coaches from parents.

    League president John Gardner said publishing such information could raise liability concerns and scare away potential coaches.

    “That’s a non-starter,” wrote Don Mustard, a trained coach in Etobicoke.

    “Hockey protects its own. There are many very qualified/certified coaches who are willing to develop the kids but are neither members of the club nor willing to play the association politics to become an insider.”

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