Local referee organizations are expressing strong opinions about an incident in Binghamton on Sunday where a hockey player for Erie Community College (E.C.C.) raced out of the penalty box to push a referee to the ice.
According to a friend, the 62-year-old referee suffered a concussion and was evaluated by a team doctor at the SUNY Broome Ice Center.
E.C.C. hockey player Brandon Day, a freshman, is now suspended by the school. He is also facing harassment, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief charges for his on-ice actions and damage that SUNY Broome officials said he caused to a locker room after the incident.
Local hockey referees say they are facing growing aggression from players, fans and family during games - and sometimes, even afterwards.
That is causing problems in recruiting and keeping new referees, said Gary Cutler, Referee-in-Chief for USA Hockey, NYS Amateur Hockey Association. Cutler said about 50% of new referees quit in the first year. With hockey continuing to grow in popularity, Chuck Sieber from Buffalo Hockey Referees, Inc. said the problem could lead to severe shortages of referees.
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.