People involved with the Prince Albert Bantam Hurricanes say they’re not getting a fair shake after a referee cancelled a game claiming fans were “out of control.”
Referee Kyle Chudyk, 29, said the officiating crew felt the Jan. 26 game was no longer safe for them after fans allegedly swore, hurled insults and threatened them.
But Jason Roode, whose son plays for the Hurricanes, told 650 CKOM Wednesday that wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t see any threatening,” he said. “There were no threatening gestures even between our fans and Hague’s fans.”
Roode said there were a few family members of Hurricanes’ players who were kicked out of the stands by the referees for questioning their calls.
He said the fans felt referees were calling penalties unfairly. According to the game sheet, the Hurricanes received three four-minute head-contact infractions, while the home team Hague Royals received one two-minute call for the same foul.
“(The referees) were on a power trip,” he said.
Roode said the game was called after a woman in the stands got into a yelling match with one of the referees over a hit delivered to a Hurricane player she felt should have been a head-contact penalty.
Glen Cey, manager for the Prince Albert Hurricanes, was behind the bench filling in for assistant coaches who were away on business.
He told 650 CKOM he didn’t hear any swearing from the stands or from Head Coach Bill Hoko, who was kicked out at the end of the second period.
When the game was called little more than a minute into the third, Cey said coaching staff and players were confused.
“The ref told us, ‘Do what you want, but we’re not coming back out,'” Cey said. “So I guess it was done.”
The manager also said he didn`t hear any insults while the officials were escorted to their cars by RCMP.
“You could hear a pin drop in that lobby,” he said. “It was silent.”
Second ref, linesman back Chudyk account
Michael Schwebius, who officiated alongside Chudyk, stands by his co-referee’s account. He said insults continued even with the RCMP escort.
“(The fans) were telling us to ‘hang up our f—king skates,'” he said.
The 22-year-old referee confirmed Chudyk’s description of fans screaming at the crew over the glass, adding he’d never seen a game that bad.
Schwebius was suspended alongside Chudyk for not following procedure. The Saskatchewan Hockey Association said they should have asked all fans to leave and issued delay of game penalties if they didn’t comply.
He found out Monday the punishment had been expanded – banning them from the entire Sask Valley Minor Hockey League, not just the Bantam level.
“It sucks that nobody ever has the refs’ backs, we just get hung out to dry,” he said. “Now that I’m suspended, it’s going to have to be some 16-year-old who goes out there.”
Linesman Austin Reimer, who wasn’t suspended by the league, also confirmed the referees’ accounts.
Hockey Canada response
The referees were also suspended from the provincial playoffs by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, a move Chudyk and Schwebius say is counter to Hockey Canada’s zero tolerance policy on abuse of officials.
Hockey Canada President and CEO Tom Renney was in Saskatoon Wednesday and said he trusted the league’s process.
“We’ll allow the branch (SHA) to defend their decisions,” he said. “I always trust the process.”
Renney added, however, Hockey Canada will step in and address the situation if appeals continue through the association’s decision-making process.