Assault charge laid after group confronts ref at Lethbridge hockey tournament
A 55-year-old man from Standoff, Alta. has been charged with assault, and charges are pending against a 36-year-old man, following an incident at a youth hockey tournament in Lethbridge on Sunday.
The incident occurred Sunday during the Quest for the Cup 3-on-3 hockey tournament at the ATB Centre in Lethbridge for children between the ages of seven and 12. Cell phone video shows five unidentified people approach an official on the ice. The ref originally skates backwards away from the members of the group who are not wearing skates. One of the males makes his way to the ref, appears to shove the official and the ref responds by throwing a punch. The ref and the male fell to the ice and a third person intervenes.
According to the Lethbridge Police Service (LPS), the confrontation followed a verbal dispute between a 10-year-old boy and a ref during a game. The 10-year-old player allegedly struck the ref twice with his stick and the ref is said to have pushed the boy to the ice. The adults who entered the ice surface to confront the ref are said to be coaches and a relative of the boy.
LPS officials say an opposing coach was also assaulted.
On Monday, Lethbridge Police Service confirmed 55-year-old Robert Farrell Creighton of Standoff, Alta. had been charged with assault. Creighton has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, October 9.
In a conversation with CTV Lethbridge's Terry Vogt, Creighton says the 10-year-old boy is his grandson who had been playing on a team put together to play in the unsanctioned tournament. Creighton claims players on the opposing team had been running the goalie of his grandson's team throughout the game and the ref, who he believes to be a man in his 40s or 50s, 'wasn't calling anything'.
According to Creighton, the incident occurred after the game and ahead of the team's exchanging handshakes. He says his grandson called the official a 'bad ref' and the ref responded by telling the boy to 'get off the f-ing ice' and pushing him. Creighton say his grandson's head struck the ice and the boy proceeded to slash the shinpads of the ref with his stick.
Following the encounter between the group and the ref, Creighton says his wife called 911 and EMS assessed the boy for a possible concussion. LPS officers also responded to the rink. Creighton says there were calls to have the ref arrested and charged but the officers escorted the ref out of the arena. Police then handcuffed Creighton.
LPS officials confirm assault charges are also pending against a 36-year-old man whose identity has not been released.
High Performance Hockey, the organizers of the tournament, issued the following statement Sunday evening:
Earlier today, an altercation occurred at our Quest for the Cup tournament. This incident is receiving significant attention on social media and should serve asan example to all about the importance of ensuring the rink is a safe place for our children. Actions like this have no place in our game.
The Quest for the Cup tournament is an opportunity for players to enjoy the game of hockey with their friends. For that reason, we are especially disappointed to see an act like this occur.
We are fully cooperating with Lethbridge Police Services as they investigate this incident.
With files from CTV's Terry Vogt