Tewksbury Police investigate parent-player fight at youth hockey game

TEWKSBURY – What started as an ordinary youth hockey game at Tewksbury on Saturday afternoon has turned into a brawl between players and parents which is now the subject of police investigation.

At least one player suffered a laceration to the face during the altercation, although no ambulance transport was required to the Breakaway Ice Center for the Under-18 Championship game between Tewksbury and Raynham, the Tewksbury Police Chief Ryan Columbus in a press release.

The statement said police have questioned match officials and are examining surveillance footage of the 20 Carter Street ice rink. Detectives are also examining images of the altercation that erupted on social media.

Kevin Kavanagh, executive director of Massachusetts Hockey, said four parents have been suspended due to the scuffle that broke out. He said the league intended to penalize players after closer examination of the footage.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior and when it does, we will act promptly and accordingly,” Kavanagh said. “It’s a shame that this good game was ruined by this in the end.”

Violence erupted at the end of the game between the New England Knights of Raynham and the Tewksbury Boston Junior Rangers. The match – which Raynham won 3-2 – involved players aged 17 and 18. Kavanagh described the game until the end as “relatively tame”, with only two minor penalties handed down during the game.

“Something right at the end of the game precipitated the brawl for lack of a better term,” Kavanagh said. “I think both teams were getting ready to leave their benches because the last horn had sounded and then there was a skirmish around the corner. Next thing you know, everyone has paired up.

The altercation began with a few brawls on the ice. The parents then became involved by accessing the ice through a door, which is when the incident “took a turn,” according to Kavanagh.

“I would certainly believe their only intention was to try and break it, but there is no room for a parent stepping onto the ice surface in any situation,” he said. “Unfortunately, that made the situation worse.”

Kavanagh pointed out that they have referees on the ice who sort out any skirmishes that might break out during a game. He added that hockey is a physical sport, but there is zero tolerance for fighting, which will result in in-game penalties and possible suspensions for league players.

“It’s definitely not the norm, and for something to escalate at this level is far not the norm,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh said he hopes Saturday’s incident serves as a warning to parents and players on how not to act at a youth sporting event.

“We hope people see this and understand that it is not a good look for anyone and that it is not part of the game,” he said.

Columbus said in the press release that the safety of youth and recreation programs in the city was taken “very seriously.” He added that further updates on Saturday’s incident will be provided as they become available.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

Catherine J. Martinez