By Dave Zednik, IHOA Registrar
QUESTION: What is the referees’ responsibility for maintaining a positive environment for players, when the venue allows alcohol consumption and the players report harassment by fans who are visibly consuming alcohol?
ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules regard the rules of playing the game and therefore do not address spectator behavior. Your situation is an unfortunate one that places the players, coaches, and officials in a very difficult situation. Obviously, the drunk spectator behavior is detrimental to the game, but at the same time how do you argue with a drunk and emotional parent?
This situation is best managed by both the officials and coaching staff of both teams. The coaches should want the most positive playing environment for their players and are in a good position to influence parents who act out of control. If the coaches are reluctant or refuse to assist, the officials have little choice other than to “run the game clock” until the offender(s) is removed from the rink (by way of the team coach).
In any case, this situation should be reported to your Local Supervisor of Officials who can bring the issue to the attention of the Local Hockey Association.