A Winnipeg couple is appealing the three-year suspension handed down by Hockey Winnipeg following an ugly scene at a minor hockey game in Fargo, N.D. earlier this year.
Peter Woods, executive director of Hockey Manitoba, confirmed the couple is scheduled to face off against Hockey Winnipeg in front of a three-person committee on Apr. 16. The review is an in-person hearing, giving the couple and the region (in this case, Hockey Winnipeg) a chance to explain their position. Official reports surrounding the incident will also be reviewed.
"It will be pretty extensive," Woods said Friday morning. "The three-person panel will listen to presentations from both sides, and questions will be asked from the panel. The panel will then review the information and make a decision to uphold or reduce the suspension."
Woods said a decision could come as early as that day.
The three-year suspension was handed down by Hockey Winnipeg, the governing body of minor hockey in the city, after the mother and father of an eight-year-old minor hockey player allegedly barged into the opposition dressing room and got into a physical altercation with the opposing team’s coaches during a tournament in Fargo Feb. 8. According to Hockey Winnipeg, the altercation boiled over into a huge fight between the adults in front of the children.
"We felt that was way beyond, way over the top to go into the dressing room of another team, and we felt we had to take a strong position," Hockey Winnipeg president Don McIntosh told the Free Press earlier this week.
Under the terms of the suspension, McIntosh indicated the couple is banned for any "rink activity" at any arena where their son is participating in Hockey Winnipeg-sanctioned games, practices, tournaments, and any other league activity.
This appeal and the circumstances surrounding it are quite rare, Woods said, adding a Hockey Manitoba review panel typically makes rulings on incidents such as registration and on-ice discipline appeals.
"Anytime a member at a league, region, or association level has a judgment made against them they have the opportunity to appeal up the food chain. In this case Hockey Manitoba would be next in line," he said. "The next level up for this case would be Hockey Canada."