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N.B. minor hockey referee accused of punching tournament organizer


SUSSEX, N.B. - Parents are often accused of behaving badly at minor hockey games.
But in a twist on the usual rinkside confrontation, a 21-year-old referee is facing an assault charge for allegedly throwing punches at the organizer of a girls' tournament.
The confrontation occurred Friday night in Sussex after the on-ice official threw the captain of a Moncton, N.B., team out of the game for receiving three minor penalties.
After the game, when it was time for the teams to return to the ice for the player-of-the game ceremony, the referee wouldn't allow the captain back on the ice.
When tournament organizer Grant Muir approached the referee at the parents' request for clarification, witnesses say the young official lost his temper.
They said he swore at Muir, shoved him, then began throwing punches.
Muir, who blocked the blows but didn't retaliate, said he wasn't hurt but was startled.
"We always hear that typical story of another parent upset with a call a referee made and they make a scene. That was not it at all," he explained.
"Parents had a legitimate question and they came to me as an organizer for the answer. For a 21-year-old kid to think he could just start swinging at a 40-year-old man, well, it just blew me away."
Doug Bobbitt, referee-in-chief for Sussex minor hockey and Sussex and district female hockey, said it will be up to the New Brunswick Hockey Officials Association to rule on whether or not the referee will have his status revoked.

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