A child ties hockey skates in arena dressing room Shutterstock/Lorraine Swanson
A Winnipeg mother and father have been been banned from watching their eight-year-old son play hockey for three years after they got into a fist fight with the opposing team's coaches during a kids tournament in Fargo, N.D., earlier this year.
The parents are appealing the three-year ban, the stiffest penalty ever handed out by Hockey Winnipeg, the city's minor hockey governing body.
"Certainly new for Winnipeg, but based on the circumstances and the information that we've gleaned through the investigation, I felt that we needed to take a strong stance on the issue," Hockey Winnipeg president Don McIntosh told CBC News on Wednesday.
The parents of a player from the River East Royals white team got upset and stormed into the Lord Selkirk dressing room following a game between the two Winnipeg teams in Fargo on Feb. 8.
Hockey officials in North Dakota have said the mother was yelling, and as the Lord Selkirk coaches tried to escort her from the room, the woman's husband went after them.
That's when punches were allegedly thrown in front of eight-year-old players, according to Hockey Winnipeg.
McIntosh said some of the young players are still having nightmares about the incident.
"The issue of invading the space of that team, the age of the children, the language, the physical encounter — way, way beyond anything I've experienced," he said.
Hockey Winnipeg has not identified the parents in question or their child.
McIntosh said the parents are not allowed at Hockey Winnipeg games for the next three seasons as part of the suspension, which took effect Feb. 18.
The couple plans to appeal the decision to Hockey Manitoba.