NEWS

'Tripping' B.C. hockey coach suspended

06/29/2012 01:07 EDT | Updated 08/28/2012 05:12 EDT
A hockey coach who appeared to purposely trip a young player during handshakes after a league game has been suspended by the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association, a spokesman says.

The coach could be recorded June 23 at the Thunderbird Arena at the University of B.C. sticking his leg out to trip a 13-year-old boy, who then pushed over a 10-year-old fellow team member as he fell.

The RCMP were called immediately after the incident and have obtained a copy of the recording and interviewed witnesses. An RCMP spokeswoman said police could recommend a charge of assault against the coach, a man in his 40s.

“Looking at the video, personally, I find the actions really offensive and it’s really unfortunate that [the coach] is associated with our association,” said Jay Aikenhead, of the VNHA.

Aikenhead said the coach has been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Motive not revealed

It has not been revealed what might have prompted the coach, whose team won the game by a large margin, to trip the player, who injured his wrist in the fall and now wears a cast.

The 10-year-old boy he fell on was not injured, but his mother, Elizabeth Pappas, is infuriated by the incident.

“It’s a grown man picking on minors. And they won the game. Can can you imagine if they lost the game. What would he have done?” Pappas said Thursday.

More education is needed for coaches, according to Laura Watson of the B.C. Coaches Association.

“Coaches are one of the top three most influential people in a child’s life, along with a teacher and a parent, and sometimes the most influential,” said Watson. “So, as a result it’s important that they are trained or certified to be working with children.”

Aikenhead said the suspended man is a certified coach and did complete a course on respect in sport.

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