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Police investigating slashing at Vancouver Island minor hockey game


Mounties on Vancouver Island are investigating an extreme slashing incident that sent a young hockey player to hospital on Friday.

It happened during a U15 game in Courtenay, when a Comox Valley player swung his stick like an axe, striking a Nanaimo boy multiple times.

A person who shared video of the game with CTV News said the 14-year-old player, who was struck on his shoulder blade and the back of his collarbone, was sent to hospital with a concussion.

“It’s not what we want in the game,” said Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association (VIAHA) president Al McCulloch.

“We’ve got to not glorify the violent part of the sport; we’ve got to glorify the skill part of the sport.”

While the Comox Valley RCMP confirmed it’s investigating, it did not provide any details.

VIAHA has begun a disciplinary investigation, reviewing game footage and interviewing spectators, McCulloch said.

“We’re dealing with people with brains that are still developing,” he said. “You’ve got to find that they are remorseful in some aspects and hopefully they don’t do it again.”

In November, another young player was hospitalized and three others were suspended for piling onto him at a game in Courtenay. At the time, McCulloch highlighted the need to teach kids to play nice as soon as they start playing hockey — a message he repeated on Monday.

“We do (start) it from a young age, but… it’s got to be a repeated message on a daily basis,” he said.

“All I can say to parents and players is behaviour is important whether you’re on or off the ice. And I wouldn’t hit you with a stick across the head on the street, so I don’t want you to do it in the arena.”

There are also calls to hire more experienced referees, who can de-escalate players when a game starts getting ugly.

McCulloch said incidents like this are outliers and detract from a game he said can teach kids essential life skills.

“It teaches you how to play nice in the sandbox when you become an adult,” he said.

The Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association, which hosted the tournament where the slashing incident happened, declined to comment. Top Stories

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