Hubtown team to speak with players after preseason blowup against Crushers
TRURO – The executive of the Truro Bearcats will be addressing its players about the importance of their conduct in the wake of Thursday’s melee with the Pictou County Crushers.
The executive issued a release Sunday 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.”
The release was in response to an incident in last Thursday’s preseason tilt in New Glasgow. With the Bearcats in control of the scoreboard late in the contest, Truro captain Philip Fife was accused by the Crushers of mocking a Pictou County player who has Tourette Syndrome. The game instantly turned into a fight-fest, with several skirmishes on the ice in the final minutes and heated words exchanged between the benches. Truro won the game 3-1.
The Maritime Junior Hockey League reviewed the incident, but could find no video evidence to warrant any discipline.
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.”
Online message boards and the comments sections of both the Truro Daily News and New Glasgow’s The News websites lit up with comments about the issue over the weekend. The Crushers’ executive was also quoted several times about how upset the team was over the incident. Pictou County even pulled out of Saturday’s exhibition tilt with the Bearcats, citing safety of the players on both sides. The team had no further comment Sunday.
MacKenzie said he hopes the bad blood does not carry over into the regular 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. 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 organization’s way.
“It was inferred our team was out of line and (general manager) Shawn (Evans) resented that and I agree,” MacKenzie said. “Our team has a good reputation on the ice and I believe we still do.”
On Twitter: @tdnmatt