There are rites of passage in youth sports. In hockey, your child could be in goal or playing against a team that is considerably better. The hope is they come away with a lesson in sportsmanship and move on.
No matter how you spin it, what happened in a novice game between teams of 8-year-old players in Canada on Oct. 20 is wrong.
The problem stems from a game between the Kitchener Jr. Rangers Red and the Cambridge Hawks Red teams. Kitchener won 41-0, in the game that is played with 12-minute periods. The result was nothing new for Cambridge, which is 0-7 and has been outscored 132-4.
“I can’t speak to the specifics of this game because I recently heard about it myself and have not discussed it with anyone,” Cambridge Minor Hockey Associaton John Morton wrote to The Record after staff members from his group hung up on a writer looking for a comment. “There are no rules in place to deal with one-sided affairs. I would think all associations leave it up to the common sense of coaches to do their best to protect all players from embarrassment.”
The Ontario alliance leaves it up to its associations to “deal with their coaches and teachable moments like this.” Teachable moments?
Kitchener coach Chris Berscht tried his best to prevent the score from getting out of hand, instructing his team to start in their own ice and pass the puck five times before trying to score.
When that failed, why didn’t the officials, Berscht and Hawks coach Chris Wismer get together and call the game, enact a mercy rule?
“He was pretty upset about it,” Kitchener Minor Hockey Association president Tom Graham said of Berscht to The Record. “We don’t want this. This is terrible. This is not who we are by no means. It’s not good for Cambridge kids and it’s also not good for the kids that are playing against them, too.
Graham says the KMHA attempts to avoid such results.
“We would never put that score up on the board,” he said. “That’s not a good thing for the kids to see.”
Or parents, or anyone else.