Judge says No to threats & Aggressive Hockey Antics
Kevin Spooner, owner of the Campbell River Storm Junior Hockey team, was ordered to obey the terms of a Peace Bond after issuing threats, intimidating and bullying a competing team’s owner and coach.
The Honourable Judge Gouge presided over the hearing in Courtenay,December 2014. The Crown sought a peace bond, pursuant to section 810 of the Criminal Code, after a series of aggressive incidents levelled by Spooner against Comox Valley Glacier Kings owners (Mr. and Ms. Webb) and coach (Mr. Ewing).
On January 24, 2014, Mr. Spooner shouted profanities at Mr. Webb during the third period of a hockey game between the two teams. Later, he struck Mr. Webb on the head. Two days later, Mr. Spooner made threatening comments to the Webbs at a hockey meeting. Then, in April 2014, Mr. Spooner confronted Mr. Ewing and pushed him hard enough to cause him to lose his balance. Mr. Spooner was upset that the Comox hockey team had recruited one of his former players.
Judge Gouge wrote, in his Reasons for Judgement: “Mr. Spooner believes that his conduct is defensible because “this is hockey and feelings run high.” A propensity for violence and a gift for physical intimidation are highly-valued qualities among hockey players. Mr. Spooner believes it appropriate to exhibit those qualities in the course of business dealings off the ice, and sought to intimidate Mr. and Ms. Webb….”
Judge Gouge also advised Mr. Spooner that, had the Crown chosen to charge him with assault for the pushing and hitting behaviours, he would probably have been convicted. Although more than 10 months had passed between the incident and the hearing, the Judge granted the Peace Bond because he did not think Mr. Spooner understood the “error of his ways”, concluding:
“He is clearly of the opinion that, when hockey issues are at stake, physical intimidation is an appropriate communication strategy. Encouraged by the traditions of his sport, he believes that aggressive confrontations, in which his size and bad temper are intimidating factors, are an appropriate way of resolving disputes.”
Spooner’s involvement with the legal system comes at a time when other bad behaviour in the hockey world have been prominent in the Canadian media:
- On January 19, 2015, three Toronto Maple Leafs fans threw jerseys on the ice during the game, and were subsequently ticketed, removed from the arena, and banned from the building for a year.
- On January 16, 2015, it was announced that the entire University of Ottawa hockey team suspension was extended for the 2015-16, following sexual assault charges against two of its’ players. University of Ottawa Hockey Team Captain, David Foucher (aged 25), and Assistant Team Captain, Guillaume Donovan (24) were charged with the sexual assault of a 21 year old Lakehead University student in August 2014.
- On January 8, 2015, Burnaby hockey dad Terry Litt was sentenced to a conditional discharge and 12 months probation for uttering threats to his son’s 9 year old teammate, when he told him “Don’t touch my f–king kid or I’ll kill you.”
Jayne Embree, M.A.
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. Currently on sabbatical, Jayne is conducting research in the area of family dynamics and parental conflict.
Areas of Practice: Family law including separation, divorce, mediation, arbitration, child & spousal support, support variations, guardianship, parenting time, access, property division and more. Victoria BC