EDITORIAL: Assault a crime in any forest

If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

In the hockey world, this philosophical question about observation/reality creates an interesting debate when it comes to crime.

If a player punches an official in a hockey rink, and nobody reports it to police, is it a criminal code offence?

The answer, according to Richmond Mounties, is no.

Unless somebody calls police, which would trigger an investigation, it’s as if nothing happened, according to a senior local Mountie.

And therein lies the problem, which has nothing to do with police, and everything to do with hockey’s misguided culture that encompasses players, coaches, parents and fans.

Two weeks ago, during the Richmond International Midget International Hockey Tournament, a hockey player reportedly lost his cool and vented his frustration on an official.

But did a single person observing this apparent assault—if you believe a hockey coach who described the unusual scene to a TV news cameraman the following day—call the police?

Well, no, according to the Richmond RCMP. And if the Richmond RCMP weren’t called to investigate, it’s as if it never happened.

The idea that teenagers are taught that strapping on skates exempts them from the laws of the land, is ludicrous.

No, this isn’t about fighting between players, which is a different debate.

This is about hockey player violence in general, which in this case reportedly required the hockey official to be taken to hospital.

A fight between consenting adults or teenagers is one thing.

When a referee is the victim, it’s time for a complete re-examination, as this teenager clearly crossed the line.

Relying on the hockey associations involved in the incident to mete out justice, is folly.

One phone call to the police about that incident would not just get them involved, but it would uncover the truth that the public deserves to know, and send a crystal clear message to the teen and his family, one from an objective perspective that’s not influenced by those invested in Canada favourite pastime.

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