Oceanside Minor Hockey reacts to Island-wide idea that could keep parents out of rinks

Local president says problem parents issue not worse or better than recent years

Cy O’Leary was a minor hockey referee in the 1970s in the Lower Mainland, a time when Philadelphia’s Broad Street Bullies were winning Stanley Cups and Punch MacLean’s New Westminster Bruins were brawling their way through junior hockey seasons.

The 80-year-old Parksville resident only remembers tossing an unruly fan out of the area once — a woman he said screamed at him for about an hour.

“As a referee, I imagined I had nine layers of skin,” O’Leary said last week.

O’Leary said he doesn’t believe banning all spectators from minor hockey games for a weekend is a good idea. It was something floated by the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association (VIAHA) recently in light of what it said has been an increased level of abuse hurled at officials and players.

“That will never work,” said O’Leary. “The kids, they want their parents there, they want them to see them and be proud of them.”

VIAHA president Jim Humphrey sent a memo to all member associations, including Oceanside Minor Hockey, earlier this month about the no-spectators idea.

“If we are unable to stop this disrespectful behaviour from this small number of our minor hockey spectators, VIAHA will have no other option but to ban all spectators over the course of a weekend to show people what the future of our game will look like if we do not put a stop to these very few disruptive people,” Humphrey wrote.

The memo got media attention across the country and had people talking about the issues in arenas up and down the Island.

Oceanside Minor Hockey Association president Andrew Copley said the association has faced a few unruly-parent issues this season, “but it hasn’t been any more or any less than in previous years.”

He said the memo issued by Humphrey “definitely upset a few parents.”

There are about 400 youngsters playing minor hockey in the Oceanside association.

As for those parents who insist on verbally abusing young officials from the stands, Copley said he believes Humphrey’s memo may have some positive effect.

“I hope the media attention that’s been given to it will wake those parents up,” he said.

O’Leary, the retired referee, said he used to try to settle the issue of unruly and loud fans with measures on the ice. He used to give the young players some suggestions.

“Don’t look up at them, but when play stops, look up at them and smile.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Longtime Nanoose Bay farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Most Read