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TNT hockey coaching staff suspended indefinitely pending assault investigation

Posted January 8, 2018

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) has suspended the entire bench staff of TNT Minor Hockey Association's Minor Midget AA team pending the outcome of a York Regional Police investigation into an alleged assault of an on-ice official that took place between the second and third period of a Dec. 22, 2017 game between TNT and Newmarket at the Magna Centre.

TNT Minor Hockey president Donna Horan told Free Press Online that details of the alleged assault, which sent one of the linesmen to hospital as a result of reported blows to his head, remain unclear, other than it's an active police investigation.

"I have talked to both the players and the parents from the team regarding the incident and the suspension of the coaching staff until the police investigation is completed," Ms. Horan told Free Press Online via email. "The parents were upstairs in the arena at the time and the three of the coaching staff and all the players were waiting to go on the ice when incident took place so they did not see anything. All I can really say is that we are waiting to hear the result of the police investigation and the results from the OMHA as far as suspensions. The players will still practice and play their games as we have volunteers to help us with coaching until this is resolved. We do not feel that it is fair that the whole coaching staff be suspended indefinitely until the police investigation is concluded. The players and parents really like their coaches and want them on the bench."

York Regional Police Constable Laura Nicolle, Media Relations Officer, told Free Press Online this morning, "I can confirm that we responded to an assault call regarding a hockey game on Dec 22 but it is still an ongoing investigation. No charges have been laid."

Below is the letter (obtained by Free Press Online) Peter Harmsen OMHA's Regional Director - Region Four sent to Ms. Horan announcing the sanctions

On Friday, 22 December a game official was assaulted between the second and third period of the Minor Midget AA game Newmarket versus TNT at the Magna Centre in Newmarket. It is alleged the individual that assault the game official is a member of the TNT Minor Midget AA Bench Staff.

The York Regional Police Service was contacted due to the severity of the injuries sustained to the victim of the assault. An incident report was completed by the attending officers. This is now an active criminal investigation into the assault of the game official.

The game official suffered a laceration to his face, possibly chipped teeth and he suffered concussion like symptoms.  He was transported to the hospital for medical attention.

Ontario Minor Hockey Association Regulation 6.1 a) "the coach in charge of any team must, before any game, place their name and signature on the official game report in the spaces provides for the Head Coach and he shall be regarded as the responsible officer of the team for that game. The individual will assume responsibility to the OMHA for the eligibility of all players of the team in the game, and for the conduct of their team officials and players during the game, and while traveling to and from that game."

Colin Iddison appears on the official game report as the coach and signed the game sheet. The alleged assault occurred between the second and third period of the game. He is therefore responsible for the conduct of his bench staff and players.

OMHA Policies and Procedures - 4.0 "in the event that an alleged offense is so serious as to possibly jeopardize the safety of others, the OMHA may immediately remove the alleged offender from the OMHA activities, pending an investigation of the alleged action(s). Whether or not the incident has been seen/reported by an on-ice official, the OMHA will consider taking particular action with a participant alleged to have done something that might be described as a "a match penalty type action" while in the arena or its vicinity."

The game official suffered significant injury, the result of being punched by an individual alleged to be a member of the TNT Minor Midget AA bench staff. The name of the offender has not been identified by the police investigators and the team officials are not forthcoming with information to assist in the identification of the suspect.

The following members of TNT Minor Midget "AA" bench staff are suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation by the York Regional Police Service:

Colin Iddison - Coach.
Garret Iddison - Assistant Coach.
Dalton Iddison - Trainer.
Tyler Smokler - Assistant Trainer.
Brian Lewis - Manager.

In a statement to Free Press Online, Ian Taylor, OMHA's Executive Director, stated: "The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is aware of this situation and is fully cooperating with the police in the ongoing investigation. At this moment, the involved parties have been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of this matter, as the OMHA prides itself on safety and sportsmanship - both on and off the ice for all involved."

More details when they become available.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri