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Massachusetts Hockey Taking a Stand on Poor Conduct

By Mass Hockey, 11/17/21, 1:30PM EST


Coach Suspended 2 Years for Abuse of Officials; Four Spectators Suspended Indefinitely for Zero-Tolerance Violations

As a result of recent separate incidents, a Massachusetts Hockey youth hockey coach and a group of four parents have been subject to disciplinary action.

A Massachusetts Hockey discipline panel, after a hearing, has suspended a youth hockey coach from all USA Hockey and Massachusetts Hockey activities for a period of two (2) years followed by two (2) years of probation, as a result of his actions in a game in October.

Near the beginning of the second period of the game, one of the coach’s players was assessed a minor penalty. Subsequently, a number of the coach’s other players were assessed minor penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, based on comments being made by the players to the officials. As a result of the additional penalties, the coach engaged in a profanity laced verbal tirade against the officials. The officials assessed additional penalties and subsequently ejected the coach from the game when he refused to end his tirade. As the coach continued his actions, both the fans and his players began yelling at the officials.
Since there was approximately six of the coach’s players needed to serve a penalty and the coach refused to leave the bench, the officials ended the game. The coach continued his profanity laced verbal tirade against the officials and at one point he opened the bench door nearest to the middle of the rink and appeared to be headed onto the ice in the direction of the officials. One of the officials advised the coach it was not a good idea to come out onto the ice and the coach remained on the bench, walked to the other end of the bench, exited the bench onto the ice to exit the ice surface. As the coach exited the ice, he flipped off the officials with both of his middle fingers. Throughout this incident, the coach engaged in profanity laced verbal abuse of the officials. The actions of the coach in turn fueled a show of disrespect of the officials by the coach’s players and his team’s fans.

After the officials entered the officials’ locker room, one of more of the coach’s players began banging on the door to the officials’ locker room. The officials reported that the coach’s voice could be heard outside of the door. The local police were called and needed to escort the officials from the building.

The discipline panel found that because the coach’s behavior violated numerous cannons of the USA Hockey Code of Conduct for Coaches, USA Hockey Code of Ethics, the USA Hockey Zero Tolerance Policy and amounted to conduct critically detrimental to the game as defined by USA Hockey Rule 601(e)(2), a two (2) year suspension followed by two (2) years of probation was warranted.

In a separate incident based on the actions of several players and spectators on November 6 in Tewksbury, four spectators have been summarily suspended by Massachusetts Hockey and are currently banned from attending or participating in any USA Hockey events. Each of the parties has the right to request a hearing before a Massachusetts Hockey discipline committee if they so desire.

Massachusetts Hockey will continue take a strong stance on unacceptable, coach, player and parent conduct to curb unacceptable behavior and monitor the behavior of players, coaches and parents at games and when necessary, take disciplinary action. 

To that end it has created an online parent conduct reporting system which will allow parties to report possible incidents of unacceptable parent conduct and zero tolerance violations directed by parents toward officials and players – which information will be provided to leagues and programs to review and address.