KMHA Responds To House League Incident, Suspensions Delivered

Chatham Memorial Arena

Chatham’s Memorial Arena was the site of an incident involving KMHA parents and coaches last week – Photo by Helen Heath

Editors Note: This letter was submitted to via email Saturday morning by Kent Minor Hockey Association president Carl Herder following the completion of the KMHA’s investigation Thursday evening.

The Kent Minor Hockey Association is committed to develop and encourage sportsmanship, community spirit and good fellowship among all participants to the betterment of their physical, mental and social well-being.

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association has mandated all hockey organizations develop a Harassment and Abuse Policy which provides that all individuals involved in our sport are treated with respect and dignity. Our policy sets out the types of behaviour that shall be considered offensive and provides a mechanism for receiving complaints and dealing with these issues.

The Chatham Kent Sports Network reported an incident which occurred on February 21 during an Atom House League game at the Memorial Arena where coaches and parents clash. This incident has been investigated by our Harassment and Abuse Coordinator as well as several Executive Board members.

At total of 10 statements from parents, coaches and trainers were obtained regarding this alleged violation. The investigation resulted in a number of game suspensions for the coaching staff involved from both the teams.

On behalf of the Kent Minor Hockey Association I apologize for this unfortunate behavior. The persons involved in this incident have a combined 15 years of dedicated service to our organization and most volunteer with several other sporting groups in our community.

This incident and the subsequent investigation once again gives us the opportunity to reflect on what really is important. Our children.


Carl Herder
Kent Minor Hockey Association

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  • comment-avatar
    Rob Hakker 9 years

    Often enough, in all activities, improper conduct is forgiven or periodically allowed because the ‘volunteer’ has been involved for many years. Paid their dues so to speak. A reminder must be given even to the best of volunteers. If the experienced ones are dismissed, you would be surprised how well someone does with no experience but the right intentions.

  • comment-avatar
    Gary Everitt 9 years

    What happens to the outburst of the parents involved. In the end the only ones who hurt is the kids.

  • comment-avatar
    Chris Winstone 9 years

    This problem was waiting to happen. If you seen the unbalance teams in Atom from the start of the season you would of guess same thing like this could only happen. I think the KMHA board should learn how to balance teams a lot better in which this wouldn’t of happen. And I believe these coaches should of been kicked for that style of attitude at the arena. This is uncalled for and shouldn’t be allowed. Who cares of the kids as long as the volunteers will be good then KMHA is happy.

    • comment-avatar

      This comment couldn’t be more wrong and off base, and it’s thoughts like this that continue to perpetuate violence and outbursts in minor hockey.

      It is not about the kids being unbalanced. If a parent or coach can’t control their behaviour because a 10-year-old scores too many goals, they shouldn’t be allowed into an arena.

      In this case, it was atom house league. Who cares if one team wins every game they play by 10 goals? It’s a league to have fun and learn the game. And although losing isn’t fun, there are very important lessons to be gained from losing.

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        Darren 9 years

        No kid or team enjoys getting beat by 10 goals week in and week out. Competition is where u learn the skills and sportsmanship not by getting blown out each week. That just brews frustration from the kids and that’s not what playing sports is about

        • comment-avatar

          I could argue this all day. Kids don’t learn basic skills, like they should be learning at this level, from competition. They can however learn sportsmanship. Myself as a coach, when my team hits a 4-5 goal lead, we institute a minimum number of passes in the offensive zone before we can shoot, and typically stick to cycling in the corner. However, trying to encourage 9-10-11-year-olds to cycle is silly.

          And for clarification sake, the 10 goal mark was reached 7 times this season in the Atom House League. Twice by the team involved in this dispute, four times by a team not involved, and once by a third team. As well, only once this year was a team beat by 10 goals, and it was a team not involved.

          Go look at the Junior B GOJHL schedule and scoreboard. You’ll find very similar margins. It happens at every level or minor and Junior hockey.

          AGAIN, this is not about “brewing frustration” in 10-year-old kids. It’s about adults behaving badly.

          Perhaps if 10-year-olds learned how to loose graciously without hearing the adults around the yell and complain, they would grow up to be adults who don’t react in this way.

          • comment-avatar
            Neil Anderson 9 years

            Well you’re right Ian about sportsmanship and learning how to lose graciously, and it is certainly correct to expect parents to behave properly. But as a previous commenter has indicated when teams are “selected” (stacked) by parents/coaches for the sole purpose of winning at the beginning of the season, then this notion of sportsmanship/fair competition has never been established. It doesn’t absolve the coaches or parents of their poor behaviour, but sportsmanship is based upon fair play and an expectation that the league is structured around fairness. You’re right that nobody (parents, coaches) should care if someone scores 10 goals and I don’t think they do, but they do care when their is a belief or perception that “cheating” is happening. There is an argument to be made that the structure of the teams within the league has contributed significantly to this outburst. It doesn’t make it right! But it’s important to understand why it happened. I think all parents, coaches need to relax and realize that their kids aren’t making it to the NHL. Once you begin to realize its about fun and you begin not to care about your kids performance then you are really free to enjoy the game with your kids.

          • comment-avatar

            Well said Neil.

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    Wils 9 years

    I couldn’t agree more with you Ian. Most kids don’t care about the score of the game, or who is scoring them for that matter. I have coached many teams, some of them losing teams, and more often then not it is the parents who have these issues.
    At the end of the day we are talking about 9 and 10 year old kids. Does it matter if they win or lose if they are having fun?

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    The Real Story 9 years

    I have read over all the comments in all of the articles and would like to chime in. There are a lot opinions by people who should just not be commenting on “Procedure” and “How the board does things” and making excuses (or trying to) for why this happened.
    In the first article (the one that was removed) Ian states what happened in some detail….
    In this incident, where was it written that the kids on the bench were crying about the score? Where was it written that one kid went after another kid, or started yelling or taunting the other kids on the ice, that would lead coaches and parents to get really upset with each other? It wasn’t written because that didn’t happen. The incident happened because the adults involved presumed that the kids were going to care. The incident happened when the ADULTS lost their cool….not the kids. C’mon people. Please understand that the kids at this age, 90% of the time, don’t know, don’t care, or completely forget about, the score 5 minutes after the game…when they are in the dressing room or on the way home. This has nothing to do with how the teams are made or how imbalanced they are….Ian is 100% right.
    Furthermore, I bet everyone of you doesn’t vote and complains about politics as well! Last year the postings for several board positions were up on the website, almost right up to the start of the season! If you are that interested in affecting change, run for a director or a board position, or write a constructive note to the board. Don’t sit in the bushes or on public stories and criticize things you have no idea about? Have any of you approached anyone from the division (s) and asked them what’s involved in balancing teams or running a division, and how they do it?
    Bottom Line – This incident is not the fault of the kids or the board! It’s the fault of the adults who chose to take the game (ATOM HOUSE LEAGUE) to seriously.

  • comment-avatar
    Wils 9 years

    Maybe this is a good time to share some suggested rules to being a hockey parent.

    1. It’s not about you, its about them. Do not live your own sports dreams through your kids. It’s their turn now. Let them make their own choices, both good and bad.

    2. Never talk to a coach about your child’s play time after a game. Actually you never should. You should have your kid do that. That said, if you just can’t help yourself, send an email the next day and ask for some phone time.

    3. NEVER yell at referees. They are trying. How would you like it if someone came to your job and screamed at you? Not. So. Much. If you have a real issue file a grievance the next day.

    4. Do NOT coach your kid from the sideline. Your job is to be a cheerleader, not a coach. If you wanted to coach, you should have volunteered.

    5. It is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY you are raising a professional athlete. I promise you. Relax, let them have a good time and learn the lessons they are supposed to be learning in sports.

    6. Kids should play the sport that is in season until they are in middle school. Then they can decide which one or two sports they want to play and become more focused. Cross training prevents injuries and burnout.

    7. If you have nothing nice to say, sit down and be quiet. Don’t be “that” parent.

    8. If you are losing your mind on the sideline of game, it’s time to look in the mirror and figure out why. It’s not normal to care that much about sports. Put that energy into something more productive.

    9. Let them fail. Forgotten equipment, not working out, not practicing at home? Let them suffer the consequences of that. It will make them better.

    10. Your kids are watching you. Make them proud not embarrassed.