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Blake Deschenes, teen hockey ref, target of abuse from players' parents

01/20/2015 07:28 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT
Blake Deschenes says he loves being a minor hockey referee in B.C.'s Fraser Valley but some days he's ready to quit the game because the abuse from players' parents has become so bad.

"I've experienced threats, accusations of racism. I've had parents wait outside the gates to escort me to dressing-rooms, as well as swearing and making very rude comments," said Deschenes, on CBC Radio One's B.C. Almanac.

The 17-year-old's comments come after the CBC reported hockey parents have gotten so unruly the minor hockey league on Vancouver Island has threatened to ban all spectators from games for at least one weekend.

"There have been games where you get off the ice, you take the skates off and you just kind of sit there for a couple of minutes," said Deschenes. 

"There have been days where I've decided...maybe I'm gonna take a break for a week or so and just re-evaluate if this is something I do enjoy doing."

The teenager, from Hope, B.C., has been a referee for six years for the local minor hockey association and officiates at games across the Fraser Valley.

"I have, numerous times, stopped the game and asked parents to leave because it has just gone to the point where they've crossed the line and other people begin to join in and you get that mob mentality going. And, you just need to cut it off as soon as you can," said Deschenes.

Deschenes thinks it would be unfair to ban parents for an entire season and deprive children of their biggest fans. He would prefer to have programs or workshops set up to teach parents why their behaviour is unacceptable. 

But, he says, it's not a bad idea to ban spectators from games for at least one weekend.

"I think a one-weekend trial period is an excellent idea. Just to really go as a warning for the parents that if you don't smarten up, essentially you're going to lose the ability to watch your kids and cheer for them." 

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