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What's your reaction to violence in beer leagues?
Fri, July 13, 2007

Former L.A. Kings forward Jared Aulin was the victim of a stick swinging attack in a Calgary non-contact rec summer hockey league.

Eight games into a stint in the Non Contact Hockey League's top division, the 25-year-old says he's likely played his last hockey game following a stick-swinging incident that landed him in the hospital with a concussion, swollen carotid artery and a pail full of painkillers.

"I'm done with it, which is sad," Aulin told the Sun prior to asking police to press charges.

What's your reaction? Have your say in our forum.

'I'm done with it'


This comment is FULLY MODERATED.


When a league promotes itself as being non-contact it should be non-contact. No debate necessary. Players who violate that rule should be expelled immediately, and any refs who allow contact should be replaced. The simple truth is that players who seek non-contact leagues tend to be those who "need to go to work on Monday," etc. Guys who feel remorse for their own rough play only after paying major dental bills... well better late than never, I suppose, but how about finding a league that admits to playing like goons just in case you get caught up in the moment and act like a jerk again?

I'm a female who took up hockey as an adult. I love playing the game -- something about the exhileration of gliding down the ice is addictive -- more than I ever liked watching it on TV (and the best live games are still those my kids play in). Summer hockey is great -- sticky ice and all. My husband is always *extremely* cautious about signing on for rec leagues where the play gets rough, because he's one of the many dudes out there who cxan ill afford sustaining a serious injury. I find that, for the most part, when skilled men play with less skilled women (e.g. wives and girlfriends) they seize the opportunity to work on their passing game and other *skills* while generally conducting themselves like gentlemen.. but there is always the risk that someone will pull a gonad move. No one ever admist they raised their stick on purpose, but just last week I had to remind a buddy on the ice that his stick isn't actually a javelin.

I play in a women's league with refs, no contact, mandatory cages, etc. last month one of the more skilled skaters (retired competitive figure skater, average stick-handling but the superlative skating makes her a superior overall player) got pissed off that the ref didn't call aholding penalty and then picked me bu the shoulders (she taller and as a serious athlete I'll admit also more fit than me) and slammed the base of my head into the boards. The refs didn't call it, and told me that they hadn't to be fair when they hadn't called me for holding (other player was screaming for it, but the refs had seen her set other skayters up for the same call before and weren't buying it). I made a complaint by phone to the league convenor, who when she got the detaisl was upset with me for not reporting it immediately after the game (but my kids were there and I didn't want to upset them -- luckily they were busy shaking down their dad for a pizza slice when the incident happened). The league convenor was upset with the refs as with the player. In my last game against the same player she tried snarling up my stick again, so I just let go of the thing and (making sure my gloves didn't slip off my hands: *that* wouldn't go dopwn well in my non-contact ladies' league) skated backwards away from her. My stick remained suspended against the boards, and hopefully she's done wit that sleazy trick.

Anyway, my point is that players who find themselves in leagues that are more violent then they admit to being should speak out, because it might actually help. Demand your money back if nothing else works. Or admit that maybe you *like* the crap, and find a league where Bertuzzi moves are tilerated... it's only fun if we're all skating on a level playing field.
Sticky Gal, 2007-08-08 11:39:13

I agree with several of the comments about how serious some of these guys take the beer or mens industrial league games. It does seem like these idiots are trying to play for a pro contract. I have been hit from behind, slashed millions of times, hooked, and suffered a tear to the acl in my knee. Eventually I will need an operation on it all because some idiot thought he had to finish his check on me. Its suppose to be a fun league. Some of the guys I have played against have gotten drunk / high before the games. They are out there trying to hurt people because they dont have jobs to get up for the next morning like most of us do so they could care less if they injure someone. The refs do need to take better control of these games. At the end of 1 game the 2 teams had a brawl and the refs just left the ice, I asked 1 of them why they werent out there breaking them up and he said the game is over so my job is done. Someone is going to be killed or seriously injured in 1 of these leagues and I wont be surprised honestly because there is alot of crap going on out there on the ice and by the refs not doing anything about it the players decide they will settle things for themselves. After suffering my knee injury I decided to pack it in, I miss playing the greatest game but I dont miss all the cheap shots and bullcrap going on in whats suppose to be a non contact league.
Jimmy, 2007-07-15 10:53:51

I believe it was early in the season and I was playing in the beer league @ brookside arena in London Ontario, and I was blindsided by a opposing player who took advantage of the no contact rule. Not being ready or aware that i was about to be hit,the collision so hard that i lost teeth and ended up with a season ending grade 3 concussion. Nothing was done about it but a slap on the wrist for body contact..2 minutes in the sin bin. I have to say I have been on the giving end of some on ice issues. To which i fully feel remorseful for, that being said i think it's time that most of the more dangerous offenders be dealt with, as for myself I moved to goalie where i can't let my emotions get the better of me. We have to realize that we all go out to these "rec" leagues to have fun, score a few goals share some laughs, and after have a beer with some buddies. there are no scouts watching us, we are not playing for our livelihood!...but this sort of nonsense is killing my love of the game. i imagine it's doing the same for alot of others. Jared I hope you get better buddy.
Chris Goss, 2007-07-13 19:40:35

I've played for years, and it's insane how serious guys take it. They think there are scouts in the stands.

I played competitive hockey when I was younger, and enjoy the competition, but I need to work on Monday.

I've had two players lose 3 teeth each in separate intentional 'go out of my way' cross check to the mouth incidents over the last 5 years.

The issue is that the leagues don't take it seriously enough. Sure, the guy who cross checked them in the mouth lost their season, but our guys were out for weeks, in pain, and have $10K in dental bills they are still suing to get paid.
RM, 2007-07-13 16:44:05

It is no different in Toronto. 3 Weeks ago I got hit from behind into the boards. Luckily my leg took most of the hit and it ended up bruised black from my knee to my groin.

After the game I went to talk to the guy about what he did expecting to hear that he was sorry, or to ask if I was ok.

All I got was "You Deserved It" All he got was a 1 game suspension. The real issue was the officiating. This is a non-contact league and they didn't take control of the game. It got out of hand, we were winning 4-1 and it was for first place in the division.

These leagues have to be taken to court for not dealing with idiots that they allow to play. One day someone is either going to get hurt real bad, or maybe even get killed.

Sebastian Dimartino, 2007-07-13 14:30:02

It must be in the Calgary water. I have worked all over Canada and the only place I've encountered ridiculously dangerous stickwork was in a Calgary ball hockey league. The refs were the problem and refused to appropriately punish stick infractions, so my buddies decided that particular league was not for us.

No doubt this guy should have a lifetime ban from hockey leagues everywhere and have a restraining order preventing him from ever holding a hockey stick again. After that, it's hard to know where to draw the line. Since the league is explicitly noncontact I'd say there's justification in pressing charges. And it's not like the bigs where suspension and loss of millions in salary is punishment enough.

Rick W., 2007-07-13 13:30:55

Main reason for quitting beer league hockey was over stick infractions. There can be such a differance in abilities, that some guys will do anything to make a play. Hooking, slashing, chopping, spearing...on and on,,,it wasn't worth it anymore! Guess some guys figure the scouts are still watching and they need to do ANYTHING to prevent a goal.

Here's a note to all you GOONS and STICK men in the beer leagues! YOU"RE NOT MAKING IT TO THE SHOW. Have fun, play clean, everyone has real jobs in the morning!!!
John, 2007-07-13 12:32:15

This is the kind of crap that kept me from playing league hockey for the last 10 years (and I have seen stick swinging incidents). My experience in the past was that there were a number of guys playing in these leagues that just didn't or couldn't play within the rules. Their egos would get bruised because they couldn't handle losing or because they were poor players. They would take those frustrations plus probably other personal frustrations out on the ice.

I just started back playing league this year (same league as Jared Aulin, strangely enough) and I only came back because I like the lack of tolerance for violence and unsportsmanlike play the NCHL brings. You want to go out and have fun and have no surprise visits to the hospital when you go to play a sport.

They should throw the book at this stick swinging guy. I don't care if he is active in his church or his community; he's still a nut case that needs to be stopped from hurting someone else. Suspend him from the NCHL permanently, alert the other leagues in the city, and give him jail time.


I hope Jared recovers fully.
Doug, 2007-07-13 12:26:26

Gee, another hockey game impacted by innappropriate conduct. What a surprise.

Until people are rightfully charged for what they do on the ice, and that includes the mindless acceptance of fighting, then these actions will continue to take place. The culture around the game is too macho high school in its thinking. Hockey players need to realize that there is nothing impressive about hurting another person, in any context.
Wade Tomlin, 2007-07-13 11:39:55

Every league has goons like Risdon. They didn't make the NHL or even pro hockey but they are one real "tough" customer who thinks heis something special. Most guys play for fun, for the challenge, for a chance to test themselves against others of their approximate level. Guys like Risdon who can't control their actions need to be held responsible for what they do. Legal action is one way of doing that.
Gary, 2007-07-13 11:21:13

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