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The bad side of minor hockey: from a Ponoka News reader

Ponoka News reader speaks to the kids in minor hockey and how the bad side of the sport can come out.

Dear Editor,

The bad side of minor hockey is the times when good kids turn bad and with encouragement from parents, or as we found out after our bantam Moose game recently, coaches who think telling kids to take out an opposing kid is an acceptable practice.

One only has to sit in the stands and listen to opposing parents yelling and screaming at kids and referees for taking too long to decide what penalties and disciplinary action should be taken against such an individual, to know that much of this behavior is condoned at home as well, and shows its ugly head when the kids play the game they are supposed to love and enjoy.

Hitting and checking is a part of hockey at least for the time being, but when outright intent to hurt someone is suggested and encouraged against other players then is it any wonder why parents and kids are choosing to not play minor hockey anymore?

As it turns out two kids suffered concussions at that game. While one was on a legal hit, it doesn’t minimize the dangers of this sport our kids love so much. The other hit was in my mind one of the worst things I’ve ever seen at the rink in my eight years of my son playing, and he’s suffered a broken arm and a broken leg.

The play in question happened so far away from the action that our player didn’t expect anything to happen as he was just going off for a shift change and was viciously taken down from behind and into the boards only a couple feet from the bench door.

The players, coaches and parents need to take a step back and realize what they are teaching our kids in life lessons and how they can be applied in real life. If my son ever purposely hurt another kid like what happened, he would never play hockey again while under my roof, but gladly I know deep down he could never do that to another human being and I am extremely proud of him for that.

Maybe other parents should instill the gentlemanly play that many of our kids have, so these types of incidents don’t happen again.

As well I’m thankful for what have been an amazing group of coaches that my son and many others have had over the years. It can take only one bad coach or parent to turn a kid into a bad player and for that we have been extremely lucky in Ponoka to have such a great group of parents and coaches over the years.

The other team’s coaches, kids and parents should be embarrassed and disgusted with themselves with how they handled themselves and represented their community.

Thankfully it looks like both our kids will heal and play another day, but the scars left emotionally from such an incident will run much deeper and will not fade as easily.

Doug Laing