He shoots… his mouth off

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Karen Haviland vents over a hockey-parenting issue

Oh boy. My husband’s not going to like reading this column one bit.

I’m sitting here at the computer, gleaning column ideas from online newspapers, the sound of a raucous hockey game in the background and I came upon this story about a Winnipeg hockey dad who was less than sportsmanlike at his son’s game.

The irate and belligerent dad, Jason Boyd, is holding a child in his arms as he threatens another hockey dad, saying he will “cave your glasses in.” I watched the video and quite frankly, it sickened me as this isn’t the first time I have seen such unwarranted aggressiveness by a hockey dad.

Suffice to say that hockey has never been a sport I have enjoyed, much to my husband’s chagrin. Even more so since the hockey dispute is now resolved and said husband is getting his non-stop fix from Dish’s Hockey Central channel.

I know, I know, it’s almost like heresy for a Canadian to not like hockey. Maybe it has to do with the fact that, while I am Canadian born and living in Canada, I was not necessarily Canadian raised, being raised mostly in the States until I was 24. Or, maybe it’s just the fact that I can’t, for the life of me, understand why grown men on skates have to resort to brawls when playing the game. Even worse, is that the fans seem to ghoulishly wait with baited breath for those brawls and then, when it happens, get so very involved wanting to see at least some show of blood. I just don’t get it. I really don’t.

While hockey seems to be the worst for this, I’ve seen it at other sports venues. Well, maybe not at tennis or ping pong, but for sure at minor league soccer and baseball games. The worst of it though, is that at the minor league games it’s the parents who set this “proud” (said facetiously) example for their young and impressionable children.

While I know there are sanctions against such ignorant and irresponsible behaviour and that it is greatly frowned upon, I know there are some parents who just can’t seem to help themselves. I guess that upon contemplation, it’s not the game to blame, but rather the actions of such parents.

That’s why I think Respect in Sports, an online certification program geared towards “creating a safer environment for all participants; coaches. managers, trainers, administration and volunteers and even parents” is a great idea and is actually mandatory for hockey parents in Alberta. It’s sad though, that nowadays we have to mandate good sportsmanship programs because of a few individuals.

It’s not so sad, however, that the Lord Selkirk Minor Hockey Association voted to suspend Boyd from all hockey arenas for the rest of the season.

Hopefully that will curb Boyd from such future behaviour. Or maybe now that the video of his tirade, posted on YouTube, has gone viral it will be enough to encourage Boyd to truly look at his behaviour and reconsider what’s appropriate and sportsmanlike and thus enable him to become a better parent and start modeling good behavior for his son. Only time will tell, I guess.

I tip my hat to all of you wonderful parents out there who unfailingly get up early each and every morning so your child has ice time, and to those of you who realize it’s just a game and not the end of the world. You are raising children who will truly understand the word “sportsmanship” and for that alone, maybe a time will come when parents won’t have to be mandated to learn what it means.

To the Jason Boyds of the world, shame on you.

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