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Minor hockey violence getting worse and some parents to blame, fans say


Hockey would be great if it werent for the parents, one hockey mom from Murray River said when asked her opinion about violence in minor hockey.

Wilma Miller has been involved with minor hockey for 12 years, with three of her children involved in the sport. She said over the years, the violence has gotten worse.

For the most part, kids like to play hockey and have fun, she said.

The fighting starts within the stands with the parents who are yelling and growling, she said.

Then it kind of spreads down to the ice and it gets all the kids all worked up and then they are into it.

Miller said parents often get verbally abusive at the officials and the players.

Ive had a mother scream to her kid to rip my kids head off in a game, she said. He was 15 at the time.

With Maritimers like Brad Richards and Sidney Crosby making the NHL, parents have it in their heads that their child is going to be the next one to make it, Miller said.

Parents are putting more money into hockey, theyre putting their kids in a lot more hockey schools, she explained.

I think they think that if you put enough time in it and you put enough money in it, that your child can go to the NHL and be a big star, too, when in fact they cant. I think this is pushing (parents) to be much more aggressive.

Hockey shouldnt be about going out and hurting other players, she said.

I think parents are getting way out of control. Hockey is hockey. Its supposed to be fun.

Glen Pye, who was watching some of the Spud tournament at the CARI Centre Saturday with his daughter, Jessica, said although he does like a rough and physical game, he thinks that hockey violence is getting out of hand.

I think the fighting is entirely too much, especially in the lower leagues.

He said there was a league in the United States with a rule that if a team had five major penalties against them, they were out of the post-season.

He said that would be a good rule for minor hockey in Canada as well.

That cut the fighting right out, he said. Made the hockey faster, more exciting, better for the fans. Whats the point of a fight? Everything stops, you sit in the stands for 15 to 20 minutes playing with your thumbs.

Kevin Dewtie, from Pictou County, N.S., said he doesnt agree with fighting in minor hockey.

I dont think theres any place for it.

He echoed Millers concerns about parents interfering from the stands.

The pressure from parents probably gets kids trying to do more than they can do.

He thought one way to reduce violence on the ice would be to allow checking at a younger age.

(That way) the kids get used to it and its not such a novelty (to check other players) when they hit pee-wee.

Twelve-year-old Darcy Chandler said although he doesnt play hockey, he is a fan and likes to attend games.

He said he doesnt like watching fights break out on the ice because he worries the players are going to get hurt.

I think they should not play so hard and they shouldnt have fights.

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