News » Regional

Hockey parents face off at human rights tribunal

Association called parents intimidating, threatening to volunteers

by

comment

A B.C. minor hockey association has denied discriminating against four youngsters, instead saying the kids' parents engaged in a campaign of intimidation, threats and harassment toward association volunteers

The defense is part of an action filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal by the mother against the association, saying her children were discriminated against on the grounds of family status.

She claimed the association, the president and the head coach denied her children's registration to play hockey because the association executive disliked her and her husband.

The association said the parents' behaviour before the 2017-18 season was the issue.

Said tribunal member Grace Chen's ruling: "They say [the mother and father] engaged in a campaign of intimidation, threatening conduct, and harassing behaviour towards its volunteers. They threatened volunteers in a physical manner. They made rude gestures and remarks towards volunteers. They made complaints against volunteers at their places of employment. They made disparaging remarks about the association and its volunteers through social media. They filed complaints against children and escalated investigations. They refused to abide by the association's rules and follow procedures for complaints. They used prohibited substances at the arena."

After the mother notified the association in August 2017 of her intention to register her children, the association voted 8-0 a month later to deny that registration.

The tribunal said after that vote, the parents threatened coaches who then refused to coach any team the children played on. It said the parents also complained at executive members' workplaces.

"This caused two executive members to resign due to fears over their jobs," the tribunal said. "Losing volunteers placed the association at risk because they relied on volunteers."

The mother did not deny she and the father had behaved badly toward the association.

Chen said a letter to the mother from the president about the parents' behaviour is evidence of an adverse impact based on family status.

She also found conflicting evidence on whether or not two of the children actually intended to continue playing hockey.

In addition, Chen rejected the association's claims it had accommodated the children to the point of undue hardship.

Chen ruled the complaints against the president and head coach should be dropped but allowed that against the association to proceed. She suggested that the parties should attempt mediation.

All names were withheld in the tribunal decision to protect the children.

Tags