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Updated: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:32:54 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Hockey coaches accused of bribing for hits suspended



CBC

CBC

Three peewee hockey coaches in Nova Scotia who were accused of using foul language and offering players cash for hits during games have been suspended.

Jeff Burbidge, Laurie Dauphinee and Jamie Henderson — who coached the Acadia Minor Hockey Association's Peewee Triple AAA team last year — have been suspended from coaching for 12 months by Hockey Nova Scotia.

Parents of some players on the team told CBC News last month that coaches taped a $5 bill to the dressing room wall as an incentive for the player who could deliver the biggest hit in the game.

Other allegations included cursing and using derogatory language toward players — even a nickname of "Stupid."

The coaches denied the allegations and said they were either false or blown out of proportion.

Mike Dauphinee, the president of the Acadia Minor Hockey Association, told CBC Radio's Mainstreet that although he believed the 12-month suspension was "very steep," the association supports Hockey Nova Scotia's decision.

"We asked them to take the case over because we weren't getting anything resolved. At our board level we were spinning wheels and it just seemed like half of our board supported the coaches, half our board did not," he said Wednesday.

"I've been coaching or been involved with minor hockey for over 11 years and this is probably the steepest suspension I've ever heard of."

Two coaches appealing

Mike Dauphinee declined to speak about the details of Hockey Nova Scotia's decision, saying he wanted to relay the details first to his own board members this weekend. The president of Hockey Nova Scotia was unavailable for comment.

Dauphinee said he had not heard from any of the parents who made the original complaint since news broke of the coaches' suspensions.

CBC News spoke with a man who said his youngest son's confidence was eroded by the coaches and dreaded going to practice because he believed he would be singled out or sworn at.

"He was subjected to a lot of derogatory language, a lot of humiliating comments, name-calling. A lot of the kids left the environment in tears, not from physical incidents but emotional incidents," Ken Barrett said in October.

"The lack of confidence toward the end of the season versus the beginning of the season — they were often called 'bitches' and 'buggers.' The F-bomb was dropped repeated times."

Mike Dauphinee said he did not think the situation would keep parents from taking their kids to play hockey.

"I hope that in some cases it doesn't scare coaches away from volunteering because obviously sometimes they can be subjected to accusations that are true or not true," he said.

"I'm not going to make comments on how I feel about these coaches personally. I think Hockey Nova Scotia has made their decision, they're not coaching not right now and I don't think these three coaches reflect the coaches we still have within our association."

Meanwhile, Burbidge and Henderson told Mainstreet they are appealing their suspensions.

"Thank you for your interest in my opinion to what Hockey Nova Scotia has decided on what they are calling an investigation," Henderson wrote in an emailed statement.

"At this time I wish not to comment as I have formally filed an appeal."

Burbidge sent a similar comment by email. Laurie Dauphinee could not be reached for comment.

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