UPDATED: Bearcats respond to incident from Thursday's exhibition game

Christopher Cameron
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Phillip Fife Twitter screenshot

On Saturday the MHL made a ruling on Thursday night’s incident between Truro Bearcats captain Phillip Fife and Crushers forward Garrett Holmes.

Fife appeared to make a gesture during their exhibition game mocking Holmes, who has Tourette’s.

Related story: Crushers pull out of exhibition game with Bearcats

Editorial: Tact enters issue of fair play

At the end of the investigation it was determined by the league that there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence to act further than penalties handed out during the game.

“I reviewed all the video, had the conversation with the referee, have the referee’s report and had discussions with both teams,” said MHL president Darryl Smith. “It was determined that their wasn’t conclusive evidence, so therefore that’s where it stands.

“There won’t be (any further investigation) based on – we did our due diligence and we used the support evidence we had with the video, with the referees, with both teams and at the end of the day it wasn’t conclusive. So when it’s not then we bring that to a closure.”

Because of what happened between the two teams in the final minute of play on Thursday night the Weeks Hockey Organization decided it was not best to play in Truro on Saturday. There will be no fines or suspensions handed out to the Crushers organization according to Smith.

“The president of the Crushers organization (Wade Taylor) decided that it would be in the best interest not to go to Truro and the president of Truro (Keith MacKenzie) agreed, so the league then decided to cancel the exhibition game,” said Smith. “It’s exhibition and the presidents of each organization both decided it was not in their best interest to play the game and the league concurred.”

On Sunday the Bearcats executive released a statement stating it does not “condone and will not tolerate any derogatory, inflammatory, or racial remarks” from its players.

“It’s important all the players know they have to be aware of what they say and do on the ice,” Bearcats president Keith MacKenzie said. “In this day and age with social media, the awareness is out there. Things aren’t the way they were 20 years ago.”

MacKenzie said the move by the Hubtown squad was not an acknowledgement of any wrongdoing by any of its players.

“Not in any way, shape or form is this accusing, reprimanding or suggesting anything was said,” MacKenzie said. “We just felt it was an opportune time to address an issue that’s very prevalent in society today.”

MacKenzie said he hopes the bad blood does not continue throughout the season in what was already a rivalry with history.

“I hope both teams can come above this, but only time will tell,” he said.

The Bearcats are consistently among the league’s teams with the fewest penalty minutes and suspensions each season and MacKenzie said he feels the team carries a good reputation across the country and did not like the negative attention the incident has brought the team’s way.

“It was inferred our team was out of line and (general manager) Shawn (Evans) resented and I agree,” MacKenzie said. “Our team has a good reputation on the ice and I believe we still do.”

On Saturday at 8:34 p.m. Fife posted on his Twitter account (@fifer18) about Thursday's game. The post said "the last few days have been very difficult being accused of something I did not do I thank my teammates for helping me threw these times."

The Crushers had no further comment on Sunday, saying they were focused on their final exhibition game.


With files from Matt Veno.


Organizations: Weeks Hockey Organization

Geographic location: Truro

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Recent comments

    September 09, 2013 - 15:36

    Looks like Stu better start writting some more cheques to make this one go away, I look forward to voicing my opinion to Evans and Fife if they bother showing up 1st game in the JUNGLE, November 11th!!

  • The Real Deal
    September 09, 2013 - 10:40

    Perhaps they can mediate it betwen themselves, Holmes and Fife, they are both adults and both leaders on their respective teams. A great opportunity to show leadership is to let them talk it out with mediation- in my opinion the teams are using both guys for press. Fife- if you didn't mean it then man up and talk to Holmes- its difficult but its also what a leader does plus its a much bigger issue than a game of hockey. What an opportunity to be a leader for all minor hockey players- you both need to seize it.

  • Peter
    September 08, 2013 - 17:09

    It is hard to believe with all the bullying in the news these days that something like this would happen at any game let alone an exhibition game. I am hoping the Bearcats continue their own investigation because if the Captain did mock a disability of an opposing player, he certainly shouldn't be the person representing the team in the eyes of fellow players and the children and youth who watch the team.

  • flyonthewall
    September 08, 2013 - 16:30

    TO Bearcat Bob, You obviously don't follow the games because if you look on the web for that game Fife was given an extra penalty. Both players involved received the same with the exception of Fife getting an extra two for UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT where he is very lucky. He was on the team last year and knows all about last years incident. Before you enter your comment whoever you are read the game results first, idiot.

  • Jason R Francis
    September 08, 2013 - 14:53

    So... who got the suspensions noted in the first paragraph then............?

  • bobby fore
    September 08, 2013 - 11:10

    what a classy league. and a classy organization. that just set it up for the rest of the year.

  • Susan Walters
    September 08, 2013 - 09:35

    Well this is totally BULLING. If the Bearcat player is named Captain well first off he should lose the C, and this young man is old enough to know better than to make fun of someone that has a disability. Just because Fife may think he's prefect, he is not. Fife should have to write a letter to apologize to Holmes.. This will not set a good example for the younger players in minor hockey. If this situation had of been reversed Fife would not have liked it and would have wanted something done.

  • Nothing New Here
    September 08, 2013 - 09:30

    There is nothing new here, this type of disgusting behavior has been going on forever. This happens in all sports at all levels and for some time. And again, this will all be "swept under the table" to help maintain the integrity of the sport association. The individual that felt the need to degrade another player for his disorder has obviously learned this from somewhere. Anyone care to make a guess? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Hats off to Holmes, for an individual to overcome the hardships associated with such a disorder and still be able to play and prosper at this level of hockey shows you are a true sportsman. What the majority of people don't realize is, that disorders like this are intrusive and sometimes debilitating for those that suffer from them, sports are often an outlet for them and allows them a chance to excel at something which ultimately builds their self esteem. For for another individual to make fun or mock them because of it, shows that they are ignorant. Isn't this a form of bullying? Hold your head up high Holmes, be proud of who you are and never let the opinions or behaviors of others interfere with your dreams.

  • Bearcat bob
    September 08, 2013 - 09:22

    Let's review what was seen on the video that all you Crusher fans whine about. The video does not show Fife mocking the player. So whether he did or did not the referees were right there why wasn't their a penalty to Fife? Ritcey put his glove in the face of Evans. I agree that this was wrong of him to push and their should have been suspended. But what about your coach Crusher fans? He was acting like a complete idiot and I am sure the language with kids around was not proper. After all that has been written both organizations should be ashamed of themselves with the actions of their players and coaches.

  • Bearcat bob
    September 08, 2013 - 09:21

    Let's review what was seen on the video that all you Crusher fans whine about. The video does not show Fife mocking the player. So whether he did or did not the referees were right there why wasn't their a penalty to Fife? Ritcey put his glove in the face of Evans. I agree that this was wrong of him to push and their should have been suspended. But what about your coach Crusher fans? He was acting like a complete idiot and I am sure the language with kids around was not proper. After all that has been written both organizations should be ashamed of themselves with the actions of their players and coaches.

  • Bad Call Mr. Smith
    September 08, 2013 - 03:11

    I would like to say a few things. 1) Mr. Smith just because the video does not show this mocking incident happening does not mean it did not happen. 2) What is going to happen here is there will be a retaliation and someone is going to get hurt on one of these teams and that blood will be on your hands. So once this happens you should be held accountable for this. 3) Are you going to allow players on teams now to mock kids in the stands now that suffer from other syndromes? Because if it is not on video you will not do a damn thing about it. With this many people talking about it something did happen. I will never go to another Crushers MHL game again. Which is too bad because this is only going to punish the Crushers again which are the victims in the first place. But I cannot support a hockey league that lets crap like this happen. What a group of stand up guys running this league. I will keep my money in my pocket. Hopefully other will follow.

  • Hockey Mom
    September 07, 2013 - 23:07

    Disgusting! Fife should be kicked out! Inconclusive my a$$. You just don't want a mess to start the new season! Shame on you! Shame on you all!

  • crusher fan
    September 07, 2013 - 21:40

    Lol to the bearcats fan u need a pair of glasses cause in the video that i watched there is no blocker on the goalies shoulder and thats where evans pushed him rose colored glasses or not he should never touched a player on our bench he is there to set an example and lets face it thats not the case here!

  • icedog
    September 07, 2013 - 21:37

    Yes i seen the video and i was there as well. Yes the goalie put his glove up but that doesnt make it right that SHawn Evans pushes the crushers goalie and why is Evans down there in the first to open the door for his team. Think you are the one with the rose colored glasses and a little dark that u cant see through them. Fife is a chicken as he has a history of being a turlte.

    • Go cats Go
      September 07, 2013 - 22:51

      How can I watch the video?

  • Bearcats Fan
    September 07, 2013 - 20:52

    There seems to be some rose colored glasses here. Did you watch the same video I did and a few minutes of how the whole thing started seems to be missing. I see the Crushers goalie stick his glove in Evans face and Evans move it away from his face.

    • killerkthezonemhl
      September 07, 2013 - 21:25

      I took the video and there is absolutely nothing showing the Fife incident. I posted it to youtube to show the lack of class Evans showed. He should never have been close enough to Ritcey to have the glove raised to his face. If i were Ritcey and had a lunatic in my ear I would have done the same. The moving of the glove is one thing but then Evans pushes Rictey. He was not injured, however the point is he should never have laid his hands on a player. This is wrong period and to this there is no argument that can be made!

  • icedog
    September 07, 2013 - 20:44

    Bearcat fan! Do you have or anybody in your family have children? If so i guess if someone taunts or mocks them because they have a medical condition is acceptable to you!!! Glad your not in my family!!!

  • icedog
    September 07, 2013 - 20:11

    I see the truro bearcats and the league really took care of this. For this to happen in the layoffs last year and again the other night shows the bearcats players coaching staff and the teams board of governors have no respect or class what so ever. The MHL has to step up and show that they respect the players that play in the league and show that these types of actions are not to be tolerated by anyone. The chirping that happens is part of the game but taunting someone who has a medical condition and spitting on them should not be tolerated and for a member of the Bearcats coaching staff to grab and shove an opposing teams player i must say all of the people involved with the Truro Bearcats organization are a CLASSLESS act!!!!! Good job to the MHL board of directors and showing that these acts of mocking and taunting are acceptable in your league!!!.

  • crusher fan
    September 07, 2013 - 19:31

    This just floors me i was at the game on thursday night i saw it happen not only did fife make fun of this players condition he spit in his face and u say Inconclusive well i saw it along with everybody else it happened we didnt imagine it and we arent crazy. Maybe the league should come and talk to the fans that saw it instead of saying they dont know if it happened. Ths league should be ashamed and ths darryl smith should step up to the plate and make this player and his coach accountable for there actions cause the last time i checked its not ok for a coach to reach around a glass barrier and push a player on the opposing bench. Evans should be ashamed of him self he is there to set an example for his players but as we have seen on thurs night he doesnt fit the bill as a coach either!!!! This league has to do its job and stop this type of behavior NOW!!!!! If it would have been dealt with during the playoffs last season it wouldnt have happened again!

  • Disgruntled
    September 07, 2013 - 18:38

    Deal with the whole facts ..mocking the player with a birth disease but also with the coach of Truro grabbing our goalie. Get your fact strait on the whole game and listen to the video that is now on you tube

  • MHL hockey fan
    September 07, 2013 - 16:54

    "not conclusive"?? Clearly Darryl Smith was not at the game and the game video must have missed the "gesture" . I was there and saw him what he did. Fife is an disgrace to his team and the league.

    • Bearcats Fan
      September 07, 2013 - 18:00

      I was at this game as well and i saw Fife shaking which I took to be a "I am so scared" gesture, shaking is not a symptom of tourette's. There are three sides to this story The Crushers , The Bearcats and The MHL so lets get on with Playing Hockey.