A video depicting a hockey fight involving players from the London Lakers, Kingsville Kings, one of the linesmen, and the London trainer brawling in the London Sports Park, located in London, Ontario, has resulted in the suspension of the linesman, as reported in a statement released by the GMHL. The junior A hockey league also reported that the London trainer has not participated in any games since the incident occurred on November 20.
Both the referee and the trainer involved in the London hockey fight appear to be unnamed. The trainer has also been reported to have resigned after being suspended “indefinitely,” according to the New York Daily News.
“It’s unfortunate when an event like this occurs during a hockey game,” Ian Kennedy, the team’s director of player personnel, explained. “Both the official, and trainer have been suspended indefinitely by the league, and our trainer has since resigned. We have a dedicated group of young men who work hard every day both on and off the ice to achieve their hockey goals. Incidents like this are not a part of the game, and take away from what is important to our team; which is to develop and advance better hockey players and people to higher levels, and to be valuable members of our community.”
In the video, the seeds of the disharmony can be seen first being sown when Jan Pechek, the Kingsville Kings’ goaltender, is decked by the captain of the Lakers, Michael Wooley. Kings’ defenceman, Devin Darrah, seemingly taking exception with Wooley’s hit on his goalie, skated toward him and the two first traded blows and then began shoving. Gloves flew through the air while helmets and hockey sticks fell to the ice.
Then, each grabbed hold of the others’ jersey with their left hands and took mighty swings at each others’ heads with their right. A furious blur of fists turned into a scrum as other players followed the lead of the first two and matched up with opponents.
Spectators can be heard clapping their hands and hooting, seemingly indicating their approval with the players’ conduct. Once players are on the ice, not before, referees may move in and wrestle brawling hockey players apart. The fight appeared to be just about over when Wooley, the London captain at the center of the dispute, attempted to stand up and appeared to be heading to the bench. A linesman who was holding him, as he was down and standing up again, appeared to hold him and stop him from skating to the bench.
Then, the linesman appeared to punch Wooley in the face. The captain dropped to the ice and covered his head with his hands. The linesman’s blow to Wooley caused the crowd’s jubilation to increase in volume, with whistles being added.
Simultaneously, the unnamed London trainer ran onto the ice from the bench and attempted to punch the linesman, but he slipped on the ice and was quickly intercepted by another referee. Fans can be heard clapping their hands, shouting, and whistling in approval.
Michael Wooley, who is reported to be 20-years-old, is playing in his first year with the London Lakers, according to the team’s website. The team captain was said to have played the 2014-2015 season with the London Nationals in the GOJHL and to be a student at London’s Fanshawe College.
In November, the CBC News reported on a study that claimed hockey fights may have a negative impact on the profitability of teams, countering what the study’s authors feel is a misconception in professional hockey that fights help to increase revenues. While brawling wasn’t presented as a having a huge negative impact on profits, almost no benefits could be found. Teams who fight are seen as putting themselves at a disadvantage because of the higher number of penalty minutes they serve.
“Fighting leads to more players in the penalty box and can reduce the performance of the team,” economics professor Duane Rockerbie with the University of Lethbridge was quoted.
Kingsville was reported to have won the November 20 game against London 6-3. The Kings currently lead the GMHL with a record of 33-2-0.
[Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images]