How parents can wreck a hockey game

By Brad Constant, Nov. 15, 2013

We here at The Hockey Ref understand that hockey is a passionate game. Players and coaches are obviously involved, but even parents can add to the environment in an arena. There is nothing wrong with parents cheering. In fact, we support any parent that goes out and cheers for their child’s team. But a parent crosses the line when they swear and berate the refs.

Thankfully this isn’t something that officials have to deal with at every game. Hockey parents as a whole are respectful and understanding. But at a recent game, this writer dealt with one unruly dad.

The atmosphere in the rink was great and the kids were flying up and down the ice. Each team played hard through the first two periods and the game was tied at one goal apiece going into the third. But that’s when the aforementioned dad began screaming and yelling at whatever he believed should be called a penalty or not called at all. Every action on the ice caused him to scream, and he was easy to single out since he was the only parent standing at the glass instead of sitting in the stands.

Such behavior is easy for the officials to ignore. Parents are outside the glass and not involved with the on-ice play. They stay in the stands and those playing the game stay on the ice taking up all of the ref’s attention.

However, this dad began swearing at us, and even worse, the kids. Nothing wrecks a hockey game quicker than such actions. And it doesn’t end there, this same father tried to get to one of the officials at the end of the game – thankfully the coaches were there to escort him back to the lobby.

We share this not to make hockey parents look bad. As a whole, hockey parents are amazing. They are supportive and understanding of everyone involved in the game. They wake up early to take kids to practice, drive long distances to sit in a cold arena while their child plays and pay lots of money so their kid can enjoy such an amazing game.

Instead we share this story with the goal of holding parents accountable across all sports. Your children love you and look up to you. Please act like an adult, do not berate the refs and don’t swear at youth sporting events. Set a positive example, it will go a long way in today’s world.


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