Hockey incident a true nightmare

November 6, 2021 Cranberry Local Sports


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Hindsight is always 20-20, to be sure, but it shouldn't need to be discussed in this case.

Common sense should have prevailed at the Mars-Armstrong hockey game at the Belmont Complex in Kittanning last week.

Sadly, it did not.

Most people have heard or read about the story by now. The female goaltender for Mars was subjected to sexist, insulting chants from a section of Armstrong students attending the game.

So much is wrong with this scenario that it's hard to figure out where to begin.

No. 1, the kids screaming these insults should have been told to stop and ushered out of the arena if they didn't. Clearly, this did not happen.

Because the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) is its own entity and not officially affiliated with the schools its teams represent — they are permitted to use the school's name, colors and nickname only — school administrators are not present to enforce proper conduct at these games.

While athletic directors and/or teachers are not on hand, necessarily, to mete out any discipline, other adults and security personnel are. It is shameful they did not stop this abusive behavior.

No. 2, this ugly, totally inappropriate scene winds up on social media. It's not the first time something like this has been out there for all to see.

It's sickening, nonetheless.

No. 3, Mars should have done more to defend its own player. The Planets should have simply told the officials they were leaving the ice, going to the locker room and not returning until the perpetrators were removed.

Under such circumstances, it is highly unlikely the referee would have forced Mars to forfeit the game had it followed through with such action.

Even if he did threaten a forfeit if the Planets left the ice, the forfeit would have been well worth taking.

Armstrong's school district has been disgraced by the amount of negative media attention this incident has received. One strong answer would be to disallow the hockey team to use the school name and logo any longer.

While the players may not be at fault, the hockey organization and whoever is in charge of making sure sportsmanlike behavior is observed obviously are.

If such a scene causes embarrassment to a school district, said district should remove itself from that scene and the chance of something like this happening again.

A high school girl playing on a boys hockey team is to be commended for having the fortitude to allow herself to enjoy the sport she loves. Subjecting that young athlete to sexual harassment at a sporting event is ludicrous.

This whole situation is hard to fix — if it can be fixed.

Where in God's name are we as a society?

John Enrietto is sports editor of the Butler Eagle

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