Salmon Arm Minor Hockey issues letter, not suspension

Fight in stands: Penticton still investigating incident.

Tim Giandomenico

Tim Giandomenico

No formal action has been taken against adults involved in a skirmish in the stands during a minor hockey game involving teams from Salon Arm and Penticton.

Penticton Minor Hockey’s acting president Val Fulton says her organization continues to investigate a fight that occurred in the stands on Jan. 17, during a Midget Tier 2 game at the Sicamous Recreation Centre.

The incident was reported to RCMP, who said it started over a penalty call, beginning as a verbal dispute that led to a “physical confrontation in which some punches were thrown.”

Police said the parties involved called the fight “consensual.”

“We’re still speaking to some of our parents…,” said Fulton in a Jan. 30 News interview. “We’re actually withholding any information right now until we’ve talked to all of those involved, because we do play this weekend and we don’t want to aggravate the situation.”

Fulton said a notice regarding the skirmish has been issued to parents by the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association. Its president, Tim Giandomenico, was reluctant to provide the wording of the notice, but said its intent is to remind parents where the focus should be.

“Keep the focus on the hockey teams,” said Giandomenico. “They’re going into the playoffs and that team (Salmon Arm) is vying for a provincial championship, so they’ve got bigger fish to fry right now.”

As for SAMHA’s investigation, Giandomenico says the matter has been dealt with and the organization is moving forward.

“No one would admit to anything – both parties acted inappropriately, theirs and ours,” said Giandomenico. “Is there any repercussions? No, I can’t really suspend anyone for what happened. I think, more than anything, from what I found out, both sides felt just brutally awful for what happened. They really embarrassed themselves.”

Giandomenico said the fight in the stands occurred after a Salmon Arm player was knocked down and the Penticton player responsible was thrown out of the game.

Giandomenico said the subsequent altercation lasted maybe 10 seconds.

“It was over within a snapshot, otherwise it would have been on an iPhone video and all over Canada and North America by now…,” said Giandomenico. “So the gist of it was, it happened in the heat of the moment, they stopped and realized, what are we doing, and it was over in the blink of an eye.”

Giandomenico noted the Salmon Arm party involved was not a hockey parent, but he doesn’t excuse what transpired, adding parents are told at the beginning of each season what behaviour is allowable and expected.

“I don’t know what to say – it’s something we want to put behind us and learn from it and be better the next time someone’s child is injured on the ice,” said Giandomenico. “The only concern in the stands should be for the safety of that player, regardless of what team you’re cheering for.

“Someone gets the appropriate penalty and gets removed from a game, no extra comments need to be made to anyone about that. The right call was made and we move on and play the game.”