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Minor hockey coach says boys getting short end of hockey stick

Discrimination suit claims girls paying less for more

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STEPHENVILLE, N.L. -- A Newfoundland and Labrador hockey coach has filed a human rights complaint against a policy that allows bantam female players to participate in both co-ed and female divisions at a reduced cost.

Brent Watkins, a coach in the bantam division of the Stephenville Minor Hockey Association, is bringing his complaint against the Stephenville Minor Hockey Association and Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

He says the Stephenville association's written policy allowing the participation of females in both bantam divisions for 13- and 14-year-old players discriminates against boys.

The Stephenville minor hockey group has two divisions in the bantam ranks: a co-ed division with boys and girls and a division exclusive to female players.

Both boys and girls pay $350 to register for the co-ed division, and Watkins says a female player can take advantage of more ice-time and coaching by paying an additional $100 to play in the female-only division.

"This shouldn't be permitted because males and females compete for positions on the same team and therefore one gender shouldn't be given more skill development opportunities over the other within the same association," Watkins said in an interview with the Corner Brook Western Star earlier this week.

"Female players should have to choose one division and there should be no difference in fee structure for any gender."

"I believe the current policy is discrimination based on gender."

Watkins says he supports human rights case law that says females can play on male teams if they have the skill to play based on a tryout.

However, he said he takes issue with a hockey association providing more skill development opportunities based on gender.

Stephenville minor hockey president Michael Philpott said his association has been in contact with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, and they are discussing what action to take.

Last week, Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador executive director Craig Tulk said the file is open, but he's not in a position to comment on the matter.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2012 C7

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Updated on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1:39 PM CST: Tweaks headline.

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