Longtime referee Roy Kozuki hears out a coach before carrying on with his reffing duties during playoff action in Williams Lake last weekend.

EDITORIAL: Sportsmanship in the stands

It must be hockey playoff season. Yes, it’s that beloved time of year when inevitably we hear about parents behaving badly.

It must be hockey playoff season.

Yes, it’s that beloved time of year when inevitably we hear about parents behaving badly in arenas across the country.

This time it was a group of parents from NorthVancouver who captured headlines after verbally abusing teenage referees during a peewee tournament in Burnaby.

RCMP were called in to keep the peace and all but the players and bench staff were banned from the arena for their next game.

Something to be proud? Not really.

Let’s hope once the heat of the moment passed and the parents had some time to settle down over a team dinner they realized their grave mistake.

In Edmonton last week, teenage referees were apparently so terrified of some hockey parents that they locked themselves in a dressing room until police came to safely escort them out.

During the playoffs in Williams Lake in recent weeks, we have seen some coaches get pretty heated after calls were made.

Whether they intend to or not, some coaches seem to push the envelope a little farther with teen refs than they do with adult referees, maybe hoping to sway the next call in their favour?

As we head into the final weeks of hockey let’s not forget the game is for the children playing it. No, they are not NHL players who signed a multi-million dollar contract to have every play criticized by coaches and spectators.

They are there, often playing through illness and injury, to play the game with their friends and teammates and have some fun.

Let’s not spoil it with embarassing, unsportsmanlike behaviour from parents and coaches.

– Williams Lake Tribune

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