Coaches and hockey officials rush to an incident involving a referee and coach from a Manitoba hockey team. YouTube
WARNING: Video contains graphic language
The father of a 12-year-boy who was injured during a hockey tournament at a Winnipeg community arena wants a referee to face a criminal charge.
The boy, who was playing in the Southeast Aboriginal Tournament on Sunday, was carried away on a stretcher and taken to hospital after a scuffle with a referee.
The boy, Kainen Bell, is reported to be in stable condition.
"You know, he is sore. He has got a tender neck, bruised back, broken wrist," said his father, Robert Bell.
"It is horrible, absolutely horrible."
Winnipeg police said they were called about a fight at the Southdale Community Centre at about 2 p.m. The teams involved were from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and Sagkeeng First Nation.
A video taken at the game and posted to YouTube shows referees stepping in to stop a scuffle between Bell and an opposing player, while a woman can be heard shouting, "Hey, get your hands off our kids."
After the players were separated and making their way back to their team benches, Bell uses his stick to slash the opponent on the back of the legs.
As the two players begin fighting again, a ref skates in to break it up. He grabs Bell but appears to slip, slamming him to the ground as they both fall.
A coach from Bell's team, the Sagkeeng Hawks, runs onto the ice and goes after the referee while other officials and coaches rush to the melee.
Robert Bell insists the ref picked up Kainen and slammed him to the ice and wants charges to be laid.
The video is peppered with swear words from the crowd, mostly directed at the ref who skates off the ice, tossing his helmet down as he goes.
Tensions remained high after the on-ice incident, leading to an altercation between several adults in a hallway between two rinks at the community centre, police said, adding an investigation is underway into whether any charges will be laid.
Todd Thornton, president of Southdale Community Centre, called it an unfortunate incident.
“Do I think the referee purposely slammed the boy to the ice? Absolutely not,” he said.
“He did what he needed to do to break up the scrum so nothing else would continue and unfortunately ended up on top of the boy.”
The tournament was not sanctioned by Hockey Manitoba, so no officials with the governing body would comment on it.