In the wake of the events during Thursday’s exhibition game between the Weeks Crushers and Truro Bearcats the Weeks organization will not be travelling to Truro on Saturday for their scheduled game with the Bearcats.
Truro’s Philip Fife appeared to make a gesture during the game mocking one of the Crushers players who has Tourette's.
The MHL has yet to rule on the case. League president Darryl Smith said he didn’t have all the information for the league to make a decision on Friday.
“To my knowledge there’s an alleged incident that took place, which we will look at and follow the proper steps to address it,” said Smith. “I don’t have all the information right now, so we’re awaiting that and will make a decision once we have everything.”
Weeks Hockey Organization president Wade Taylor said the choice to cancel the game was made by the executive members of the organization, not by the coaching staff or players.
“We ended up cancelling the game and will not be going to it after spending the day today having conversations and looking at it,” said Taylor. “We have a lot of emotionally charged athletes and we feel that it’s not in the best interest of – for safety reasons for the game or the integrity of the league – to go and play a game that could result in way too skirmishes or off-side behaviours.We’re looking to protect that.”
Smith said there is a process for appeal and process for video review for supplementaldiscipline. He said this would fall under the latter. He said although cases of players being mocked aren’t a regular occurrence they have had to deal with similar cases in the past.
“Right now it’s too early to know what steps will be taken because like I said I don’t have all the information yet,” he said. “We’re looking for the video footage and from there we will review it and use the same process we’ve used in the past.
“At this time we don’t have the information to make a decision or statement.”
Fife said he couldn't comment and that Truro Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans had to be contacted. Evans declined to comment. Stuart Rath, the owner of the organization, said he had no comment, but that the team islooking at the issue internally at this time.
The Crushers will take tomorrow off before travelling to Summerside for their final exhibition game.
Original game story:
NEW GLASGOW – A gesture by a Truro Bearcats player making fun of a Weeks Jr. A Crusher's player with Tourette's changed a good hard-fought Maritime Junior Hockey League preseason game between the teams into one that featured pushing, shoving and fighting.
“It’s only exhibition games and it’s nice to see the intensity on the ice out there, but there’s lines that should never be crossed,” said Weeks Hockey Organization president Wade Taylor. “We addressed a medical issue of one of our young players last year with Stu Rath (president of the Truro Bearcats) through him to Shawn Evans (Bearcats head coach) about a young guy that has Tourette’s
“When we have young kids coming up to us in the stands crying about the disrespect on the ice and seeing Truro’s captain Philip Fife and the actions and that being tolerated by a coach that’s supposed to be respected by the league.
“I really hope the Maritime Hockey League steps up because that’s the stuff that can become detrimental to the league and there’s absolutely no excuse.”
Taylor said that he was fine with the loss, saying “you win or lose on the ice”. He said that when someone is made fun of because of their medical situation “that it’s time for you to go” and “it’s a black mark.”
He had no further comment on the actions on the ice, saying only that he was told the issue had been addressed, but it didn’t appear to be. The Bearcats team had left the Wellness Centre before being able to be reached for a comment.
Assistant coach Chad McDavid said he was obviously not happy with how the game ended, but was happy with his team’s play.
“Not the non-hockey side of things – I don’t think we wanted it to end that way, but as far as the game goes it is what it is, our second preseason game and the first game for 11 of our returning guys so we weren’t expecting our guys to come out and be in mid-season form by any means,” said McDavid. “I thought we competed pretty well for the most part and once we get a few more exhibition games and practices we’ll be right where we want to be come the start of the season.”
Before the actions at the end of the game the Bearcats led the Crushers 3-1, with Truro notching a pair in the third to pad their one goal lead from the second period. Justin Ritcey started for the Crushers, playing 29:22 of the game, before making way for Brandon Thibeau who played the remainder of the second and third periods.
Shortly after coming into the game Thibeau gave up a rebound in front off Daniel Poliziani’s shot to Jean-Marc Renaud who buried the puck in the open net.
The Crushers had a pair of opportunities on the powerplay to tie the game in the second, but couldn’t cash in.
Both goals in the third weren’t deemed to be Thibeau’s fault after turnovers by the Crushers in their own end. McDavid said things will improve, as it’s only early.
“If you look back at all three, all three goals are blatant mistakes on our part and a lot of pucks were turned over in areas where in March or even at Christmas time the turnovers don’t happen there, but like I said it’s the first game for a lot of guys and we’re still working out the kinks,” said McDavid. “Brandon I don’t think had a shot on any of those, they were really good plays.”
The Crushers will practice today before two exhibition games on Saturday in Truro and Sunday in Summerside.
“At the end of the day the boys will leave the rink and what happened tonight will be in the past and we’ll come to the rink tomorrow and have a good practice to get ready for Saturday and Sunday,” said McDavid. “For a lot of the guys it’s the last two games for them to earn a spot on our team.
“We still have six or seven guys competing for spots so to play a team like Truro – they always a competitive team every year so to see where some of those news guys that are competing for spots are against a team like that is why we line up exhibition games against teams like that.”
Pictou County Weeks Crushers 1
3rd Garrett Holmes from David Stephens and Mitchell Deruelle 18:44
Truro Bearcats 3
2nd Jean-Marc Renaud from Daniel Poliziani and Jeff Hanes 13:32
3rd Brandon Pye from Daniel Perigo 12:39
3rd Jeff Hanes from Jean-Marc Renaud and Brandon Bazinet 16:45
W: Jordan Kennedy 35 saves
L: Justin Ritcey 11 saves
Brandon Thibeau 16 saves
*Crushers goalies changed at 10:38 of the second period
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris