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Minor hockey coach jailed for assault on 13-year-old player

By Allan Muir

Spend any time around minor hockey and you'll see the worst side of people.

Sure, parents lose perspective with other sports, but there's something unique about hockey that causes too many otherwise reasonable people to abandon all civility when they walk through the doors of the arena.

But it's one thing when parents make fools of themselves in the stands. It's another thing when an authority figure like Martin Tremblay loses it on the ice.

Tremblay, a pee wee coach in suburban Vancouver, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 days in jail for assaulting an opposing player in the handshake line after a game last June.

While his players knocked gloves with the other team, Tremblay ignored the outstretched hands offered his way. His only interaction came near the end of the line when he stuck out his foot and sent a 13-year-old tumbling to the ice.

Seriously, in the handshake line. The part of the game where hostilities are set aside and sportsmanship is celebrated.

Apparently that symbolism was lost on Tremblay, who wasn't quite ready to celebrate after his UBC Hornets had won the league's gold medal game, 5-4, over the Richmond Steel.

Yes, this guy lost his mind after a win.

Full marks here to Judge Patrick Chen, who ignored the Crown's recommendation of 30 days house arrest and imposed a harsher sentence for a crime he called "a cowardly sucker punch on an unsuspecting victim."

"Win or lose, this was just a game," Chen said in his decision. "This was the last place anyone would have expected an assault to take place and the very last place that one would have expected an adult to assault a child."

Amazingly, this might not have been Tremblay's sorriest moment.

Testimony showed he'd been verbally harassing the 13-year-old throughout the game, mocking his skating ability and calling him "Twinkletoes."

That's a quality human being there.

The good news? Tremblay will never coach kids again. In fact, he was even removed from his position as a leader with Scouts Canada.

The bad news? Spend any time around minor hockey and you know it's bound to happen again.

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