Buzby: Ugly incident at ice rink provides valuable lesson

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Youth Sports

Buzby: Ugly incident at ice rink provides valuable lesson

Published Sunday, January 27, 2013   |  489 Words  |  

Yes, another incident at a hockey rink. But wait -- this was a good thing that happened.

It followed a bad thing, but at least it was nice that it turned out OK in the end.

Following a game midway through a hockey tournament I was running during the holidays, an irate parent from one team approached a player from the other team and berated him for an incident that apparently happened on the ice several weeks before. Long story short, it got ugly.

Fortunately, the parent was escorted out by other parents and the coaching staff. But the damage had been done. A wonderful youth sports event happening on a beautiful sunny winter day came to a close with a dark cloud over the rink.

All I could think of was, here we go again -- another irate parent, another incident, another black eye for youth sports. More fodder for my column, but not the type I like to write about.

The next day, the coach and manager from the irate parent's team asked to speak to me. I figured they would be telling me how the tournament committee handled the situation wrong; that it was the other team's fault; maybe if the refs had been better it wouldn't have happened, etc., etc.

I was wrong.

The head coach pulled me aside to make sure that I knew their club did not condone that type of behavior at all. He told me what a great tournament it was and that they hoped they would be invited back despite this parent's behavior. The team manager was in on the conversation and so was a member of the board. They were all completely apologetic and embarrassed over the incident.

Then they went one step further. The coach told me that the parent had been forbidden to return to the tournament and was told that if he walked into the rink, his son would be sent off the ice.

Fortunately for the child, the parent did not.

In this day and age, when it seems most people look to place blame elsewhere, this hockey club put the blame where it belonged -- on one of their own. By taking the steps they did, they not only taught their players a valuable lesson on sportsmanship, they sent a message to all members of their club that this type of behavior would not be tolerated.

A lot of clubs talk the talk when dealing with unruly parents. This club walked the walk.

Contact Jon Buzby at JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @youthsportsbuzz on Twitter.