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In an effort to protect young officials from harassment on their way to the dressing room, the minor hockey association in Kensington has asked council permission to install security cameras.
The Kensington Area Minor Hockey Association (KAMHA) is hoping to add four new security cameras at Credit Union Centre to help curtail the abuse some of its officials have been experiencing.
“We are hoping that by installing these cameras it will help reduce some of the abuse we know our young officials are receiving,” KAMHA president Pat Kelly told The Guardian on Tuesday. “It’s not the place we should be criticizing young officials who are trying to learn how to officiate the game. Without them, we wouldn’t have minor hockey.”
A letter from KAMHA seeking permission to install the cameras and signage near the front door alerting visitors of the video equipment was discussed at council's regular October meeting.
Two of the cameras will be directed at the two team benches while the other two will be facing the stands. KAMHA will handle all the associated costs.
After a brief discussion, council passed a motion unanimously approving the request as long as the proper approval has been received from Hockey P.E.I. or any other necessary organization.
Hockey P.E.I. executive director Geoff Kowalski said he's had conversations with KAMHA about the idea, but there is no real approval process.
“It’s really a facility issue from my perspective,” said Kowalski. “I’m aware of the idea. It’s not a Hockey P.E.I. decision or recommendation, but I think if a facility was looking to put it in for facility purposes, that’s certainly their prerogative.”
Kowalski said Kensington would not be the first arena on P.E.I. to have cameras, but as it's not something Hockey P.E.I. endorses, he did not have details on other rinks where surveillance is taking place.
Kensington Coun. Adrien Bernard threw her support behind the project.
“I think it is an excellent idea," she said. "I am behind it 100 per cent."
Council also discussed whether the cameras would be used only for minor hockey.
Kelly told The Guardian the cameras will constantly run and footage will be recorded and stored on a computer at the rink. He added footage will be available, if needed, from non-minor hockey events.
KAMHA would like to have the cameras in place by the scheduled start of minor hockey programming on Oct. 25.
Coun. Rodney Mann, who is a KAMHA board member, declared a conflict of interest and left the council chambers during the discussion.