The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Peewee hockey coach in Manitoba charged with assault after scuffle with referee

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Warning: video contains strong language

WINNIPEG - Police have charged a peewee hockey coach in Manitoba with assault following a fight with a referee earlier this year.

Winnipeg police Const. Eric Hofley said Friday that charges are also being considered against two young players.

"The investigation is still continuing and further charges are possible."

An on-ice scuffle took place during a Feb. 16 game in the city between teams from the Sagkeeng and Brokenhead Ojibwa First Nations.

A video shot from the stands, and posted on YouTube, shows that a referee was trying to break up a skirmish when he fell on top of a Sagkeeng player. The 12-year-old ended up breaking his wrist.

One player then swung his stick at the referee's head and an adult jumped off the bench and onto the referee.

One witness said the brawl continued off the ice and police were called.

A Crown prosecutor reviewed the case and determined charges against a coach and two players were warranted, said police. Earlier this week, the force said it wasn't committing to any charges until a few more components of the investigation were completed.

Hofley said charges against the two youth are "absolutely" still possible.

The unnamed Sagkeeng coach, a 35-year-old man, has been released on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

A Sagkeeng coach and player were earlier suspended from the sport by the Southeast Tribal Council, which organized the hockey tournament. The group did not comment on the length of the suspensions but called for an end to violence in minor hockey.

There have been other violent outbursts at hockey games involving Manitoba teams in recent months.

Three players with the Lake Manitoba Eagles bantam team were recently suspended for attacking referees during a game in March.

Two Winnipeg hockey parents were also suspended for a fight with coaches from an opposing novice team in their dressing room in Fargo, N.D., in February. An organizer said the altercation happened in front of several players who were seven and eight years old.

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