I know they're only kids.
I know it’s only a game.
I also understand that hockey is a physical sport.
But watching a kid get elbowed in the head and lifted off her skates while the ref ignores the blatant illegal hit... well that shit doesn’t fly.
I am a Hockey mom.
Both my son and daughter have played the game for nearly ten years.
This was the first time I’ve ever pounded on the glass in anger at a ref.
Refs have a tough, complicated job.
Hockey is fast and physical. There’s action happening on the puck and away from it.
I get it- there’s a ton of rules and conduct to watch.
As parents and spectators we have the advantage: we’re watching from above the ice... not amidst the action, unpadded.
Icing - off-sides - hooking.
Yes it sucks when those calls are missed, especially when it can change the outcome of the game. What’s not ok are the missed calls on dirty- illegal- hits.
Those can change the outcome of a player’s season... or life.
I'm part of several Facebook groups and EVERY DAY I read parents' frustrations: lost teeth, broken bones, concussions... not from the game's physicality, but from illegal hits.
Even more frustrating are the lack of penalties given from these hits. I know, there's often a fine line between a clean hit and a dirty one. I realize the line becomes more blurred when parents' emotions are added to the mix.
While it seems like punches thrown, elbows lifted, and headshots with sticks would be limited to testosterone-laden 15-18 year old boys... it's happening to the seven and eight year olds as well.
Unless the refs immediately take action on the offenses, it gets more frequent with greater force throughout the game.
No, we didn't like our player receiving a technical (4 minute penalty) three minutes into the game for having a few choice words to the ref, but it set the precedent for the rest of the game. There was no bs. There was skill...speed...and clean physicality.
Unfortunately, those weren't the same refs at my daughter's out of state tournament game.
Am I proud for losing my shit and banging on the glass in a fit of rage? Hell no. I over think life more than enough already- this is now one more thing crossing my mind in bed at night.
Losing my cool in front of my kid, the players, and parents obviously isn't how I want to portray myself.
But I'm not sorry for calling out refs looking the other way when it comes to my players- our team's players- our opponent's players- safety.
Yes, the rules are important, but keeping the players safe is essential.
they're only kids and it's only a game.
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