OSOYOOS, B.C. — The RCMP say alcohol is believed to have been a key factor in a brawl that broke out between parents of opposing hockey teams at a children’s tournament in southern British Columbia.
The melee erupted in the arena stands between spectators cheering on squads of 10 and 11 year olds during an annual spring hockey tournament in Osoyoos.
RCMP Constable Jason Bayda says one woman appeared to have been inadvertently struck in the face by her husband while she was trying to break up the fight.
Bayda says neither she nor anyone else involved is willing to press charges.
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Police received reports that the parents had been drinking and making noise at a nearby resort, prompting the facility to call in extra security.
The Mounties believe the parents then left for the arena, where the fracas broke out.
“It was basically just insults being slurred from parents of one team to parents of the other team … to the point where it escalated,” said Bayda.
Neither team agreed to be interviewed but both issued statements saying the players were in their respective dressing rooms when the fight broke out.
In its statement, one of the teams denied that its parents were drunk. It said the fight escalated after a man on the opposing team punched a woman twice in the face, allegedly breaking her nose and giving her a concussion.
The other team struck a more conciliatory tone, saying there’s no excuse for inappropriate behaviour in youth hockey.
“(The team) is strongly committed to taking the appropriate measures to avoid incidents such as these going forward in order to continue to provide a safe environment for players and spectators to enjoy the great game of hockey,” it said in a statement.
Like many spring tournaments, this event was not sanctioned by B.C. Hockey, meaning disciplinary actions don’t carry over into the regular winter season.