UPDATED: Bearcats respond to incident from Thursday's exhibition game

Published on September 8, 2013
Phillip Fife Twitter screenshot

On Saturday the MHL made a ruling on Thursday night’s incident between Truro Bearcats captain Phillip Fife and Crushers forward Garrett Holmes.

Fife appeared to make a gesture during their exhibition game mocking Holmes, who has Tourette’s.

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At the end of the investigation it was determined by the league that there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence to act further than penalties handed out during the game.

“I reviewed all the video, had the conversation with the referee, have the referee’s report and had discussions with both teams,” said MHL president Darryl Smith. “It was determined that their wasn’t conclusive evidence, so therefore that’s where it stands.

“There won’t be (any further investigation) based on – we did our due diligence and we used the support evidence we had with the video, with the referees, with both teams and at the end of the day it wasn’t conclusive. So when it’s not then we bring that to a closure.”

Because of what happened between the two teams in the final minute of play on Thursday night the Weeks Hockey Organization decided it was not best to play in Truro on Saturday. There will be no fines or suspensions handed out to the Crushers organization according to Smith.

“The president of the Crushers organization (Wade Taylor) decided that it would be in the best interest not to go to Truro and the president of Truro (Keith MacKenzie) agreed, so the league then decided to cancel the exhibition game,” said Smith. “It’s exhibition and the presidents of each organization both decided it was not in their best interest to play the game and the league concurred.”

On Sunday the Bearcats executive released a statement stating it does not “condone and will not tolerate any derogatory, inflammatory, or racial remarks” from its players.

“It’s important all the players know they have to be aware of what they say and do on the ice,” Bearcats president Keith MacKenzie said. “In this day and age with social media, the awareness is out there. Things aren’t the way they were 20 years ago.”

MacKenzie said the move by the Hubtown squad was not an acknowledgement of any wrongdoing by any of its players.

“Not in any way, shape or form is this accusing, reprimanding or suggesting anything was said,” MacKenzie said. “We just felt it was an opportune time to address an issue that’s very prevalent in society today.”

MacKenzie said he hopes the bad blood does not continue throughout the season in what was already a rivalry with history.

“I hope both teams can come above this, but only time will tell,” he said.

The Bearcats are consistently among the league’s teams with the fewest penalty minutes and suspensions each season and MacKenzie said he feels the team carries a good reputation across the country and did not like the negative attention the incident has brought the team’s way.

“It was inferred our team was out of line and (general manager) Shawn (Evans) resented and I agree,” MacKenzie said. “Our team has a good reputation on the ice and I believe we still do.”

On Saturday at 8:34 p.m. Fife posted on his Twitter account (@fifer18) about Thursday's game. The post said "the last few days have been very difficult being accused of something I did not do I thank my teammates for helping me threw these times."

The Crushers had no further comment on Sunday, saying they were focused on their final exhibition game.


With files from Matt Veno.