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Maritime Hockey Player Taunted for His Tourette's

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  • Maritime Hockey Player Taunted for His Tourette's

    Maritime Hockey League Probing Tourette Taunts
    The Chronicle Herald
    September 6, 2013

    The Maritime Hockey League will likely have a decision on discipline by today following an alleged incident in which a Truro Bearcats player mocked an opponent from the Pictou County Crushers who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome.

    MHL president Derryl Smith was in the midst of reviewing the video when contacted Friday evening. The alleged incident involved Truro captain Philip Fife during an exhibition game Thursday night in New Glasgow.

    “We will deal with it accordingly,” Smith said.

    The Crushers have pulled out of an exhibition game with the Bearcats slated for tonight in Truro.
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  • #2
    Re: Maritime Hockey Player Taunted for His Tourette

    UPDATED: Crushers pull out of exhibition game with Bearcats
    New Glasgow News
    September 7, 2013

    In the wake of the events during Thursday’s exhibition game between the Weeks Crushers and Truro Bearcats the Weeks organization will not be travelling to Truro on Saturday for their scheduled game with the Bearcats.

    Truro’s Philip Fife appeared to make a gesture during the game mocking one of the Crushersplayers who has Tourette's.

    The MHL has yet to rule on the case. League president Darryl Smith said he didn’t have all the information for the league to make a decision on Friday.

    “To my knowledge there’s an alleged incident that took place, which we will look at and follow the proper steps to address it,” said Smith. “I don’t have all the information right now, so we’re awaiting that and will make a decision once we have everything.”

    Weeks Hockey Organization president Wade Taylor said the choice to cancel the game was made by the executive members of the organization, not by the coaching staff or players.

    “We ended up cancelling the game and will not be going to it after spending the day today having conversations and looking at it,” said Taylor. “We have a lot of emotionally charged athletes and we feel that it’s not in the best interest of – for safety reasons for the game or the integrity of the league – to go and play a game that could result in way too skirmishes or off-side behaviours.We’re looking to protect that.”

    Smith said there is a process for appeal and process for video review for supplementaldiscipline. He said this would fall under the latter. He said although cases of players being mocked aren’t a regular occurrence they have had to deal with similar cases in the past.

    “Right now it’s too early to know what steps will be taken because like I said I don’t have all the information yet,” he said. “We’re looking for the video footage and from there we will review it and use the same process we’ve used in the past.

    “At this time we don’t have the information to make a decision or statement.”

    Fife said he couldn't comment and that Truro Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans had to be contacted. Evans declined to comment. Stuart Rath, the owner of the organization, said he had no comment, but that the team islooking at the issue internally at this time.

    The Crushers will take tomorrow off before travelling to Summerside for their final exhibition game.

    Original game story:

    NEW GLASGOW – A gesture by a Truro Bearcats player making fun of a Weeks Jr. A Crusher's player with Tourette's changed a good hard-fought Maritime Junior Hockey League preseason game between the teams into one that featured pushing, shoving and fighting.

    “It’s only exhibition games and it’s nice to see the intensity on the ice out there, but there’s lines that should never be crossed,” said Weeks Hockey Organization president Wade Taylor. “We addressed a medical issue of one of our young players last year with Stu Rath (president of the Truro Bearcats) through him to Shawn Evans (Bearcats head coach) about a young guy that has Tourette’s

    “When we have young kids coming up to us in the stands crying about the disrespect on the ice and seeing Truro’s captain Philip Fife and the actions and that being tolerated by a coach that’s supposed to be respected by the league.

    “I really hope the Maritime Hockey League steps up because that’s the stuff that can become detrimental to the league and there’s absolutely no excuse.”

    Taylor said that he was fine with the loss, saying “you win or lose on the ice”. He said that when someone is made fun of because of their medical situation “that it’s time for you to go” and “it’s a black mark.”

    He had no further comment on the actions on the ice, saying only that he was told the issue had been addressed, but it didn’t appear to be. The Bearcats team had left the Wellness Centre before being able to be reached for a comment.

    Assistant coach Chad McDavid said he was obviously not happy with how the game ended, but was happy with his team’s play.

    “Not the non-hockey side of things – I don’t think we wanted it to end that way, but as far as the game goes it is what it is, our second preseason game and the first game for 11 of our returning guys so we weren’t expecting our guys to come out and be in mid-season form by any means,” said McDavid. “I thought we competed pretty well for the most part and once we get a few more exhibition games and practices we’ll be right where we want to be come the start of the season.”

    Before the actions at the end of the game the Bearcats led the Crushers 3-1, with Truro notching a pair in the third to pad their one goal lead from the second period. Justin Ritcey started for the Crushers, playing 29:22 of the game, before making way for Brandon Thibeau who played the remainder of the second and third periods.

    Shortly after coming into the game Thibeau gave up a rebound in front off Daniel Poliziani’s shot to Jean-Marc Renaud who buried the puck in the open net.

    The Crushers had a pair of opportunities on the powerplay to tie the game in the second, but couldn’t cash in.

    Both goals in the third weren’t deemed to be Thibeau’s fault after turnovers by the Crushers in their own end. McDavid said things will improve, as it’s only early.

    “If you look back at all three, all three goals are blatant mistakes on our part and a lot of pucks were turned over in areas where in March or even at Christmas time the turnovers don’t happen there, but like I said it’s the first game for a lot of guys and we’re still working out the kinks,” said McDavid. “Brandon I don’t think had a shot on any of those, they were really good plays.”

    The Crushers will practice today before two exhibition games on Saturday in Truro and Sunday in Summerside.

    “At the end of the day the boys will leave the rink and what happened tonight will be in the past and we’ll come to the rink tomorrow and have a good practice to get ready for Saturday and Sunday,” said McDavid. “For a lot of the guys it’s the last two games for them to earn a spot on our team.

    “We still have six or seven guys competing for spots so to play a team like Truro – they always a competitive team every year so to see where some of those news guys that are competing for spots are against a team like that is why we line up exhibition games against teams like that.”
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    • #3
      Re: Maritime Hockey Player Taunted for His Tourette's

      Holmes speaks about incident on ice
      New Glasgow News
      September 10, 2013

      NEW GLASGOW – Speaking out publicly for the first time since last Thursday’s game, Weeks Jr. A Crusher Garrett Holmes said he is thankful for the support of his team and community.

      Holmes, who has Tourette’s, appeared to have Truro Bearcats captain Phillip Fife mock him by making a gesture towards him during the exhibition game. The incident sparked several fights among the rival teams, which led to an investigation by the Maritime Hockey League. The MHL has since ruled there was inconclusive evidence to act further than the penalties handed out during the game.

      “As for what happened last Thursday there was an incident in front of the net and it was mocking the physical symptoms (of Tourette’s) with the head twitching and the words ‘twitch, twitch, twitch’ were repeated,” said Holmes. “I’m a pretty laid back guy and I usually don’t fight or anything unless I absolutely have to – or it’s for the team or something – but at that moment it just set me off and I personally thought it was too far. “

      Holmes explained that the two major symptoms of Tourette’s he deals with are motor tics and facial tics. He said that motor tics are uncontrollable urges to jerk or twitch a body part such as his arms, shoulders, neck or legs. He said facial tics are essentially the same thing, but it affects specific parts of his face.

      “Basically they stick around or the urge continues until the point that you twitch so much that you either satisfy the urge or it just goes away,” he said. “Sometimes it can be physically uncomfortable if it takes a long time to satisfy. Facial tics are basically the same things, but they’re in parts of my face – my eyebrows or my nose will twitch on the ice sometimes. They get worse in stressful situations, like school, hockey or something like that.”

      This isn’t the first time he’s been made fun of for the condition during his hockey career.

      “We thought it was dealt with last year and it wasn’t I guess, other than that the league – for the suspension part of it – they looked into it and there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence. I guess we have to put that behind us and start worrying about the season and what’s best for the guys in the room.”

      According to Holmes he just wants to get back to playing hockey and working with the team to prepare for the regular season, which kicks off for the Crushers on Saturday in Dieppe.

      “We need to get past it and start focusing on the little things with our game and get a game plan in play,” he said. “I just want to thank the community, my teammates and everyone in the (Weeks Hockey) Organization, especially everyone in the community and our fans. They’ve been extremely supportive and it’s just overwhelming and heart fulfilling. It’s amazing what they’ve been doing and how much they’ve been standing up for me. It’s people like that, that inspire the change. I mean without them it probably would’ve just been swept under the rug and never noticed again.

      For the kids that are coming up through minor hockey – I just want to tell them that it’s important that if they’re dealing with disabilities like this too or anything in any sport, whether it be hockey or anything, just not to let anything stand in their way. Garrett Holmes
      “It makes me extremely proud to be from Pictou County.”

      He continued, saying that after the game Thursday night he saw the community that supported him when he went into the lobby at the Wellness Centre. Holmes said he couldn’t walk two feet without someone giving him a hug or telling him that they were proud of him.

      He said kids coming through minor sports in Pictou County with Tourette’s or other disabilities shouldn’t be discouraged because the community is there for them and will be supportive.

      “For the kids that are coming up through minor hockey – I just want to tell them that it’s important that if they’re dealing with disabilities like this too or anything in any sport, whether it be hockey or anything, just not to let anything stand in their way,” said Holmes. “The same goes for bullying in schools and stuff. There are always people for them to talk to and there’s great support around this town. They don’t have to worry about if somebody thinks they’re different or not because they’re not any different than anyone else.”

      Wade Taylor, president of the Weeks Hockey Organization, said he’s extremely proud of Holmes and the positive change that he hopes to see by discussing the issue at hand. Taylor said the organization had no further comment on last week’s game and that their focus is now on this weekend’s game.

      “We’re back to playing hockey and I’m not going to be in a position to make any further comments about anybody else that’s involved, outside of what the goals of our hockey club are,” said Taylor. “Just like Garrett said, there’s been a lot of positive outflow to him. I know he’s a pretty classy guy that always keeps his emotions in check, so good on him for being to hopefully enact some positive change and leadership and hopefully be a mentor to some young kids that are being bullied or discriminated against.”

      Additional Reporting: Taunted over Tourettes, junior player Garrett Holmes tries to take high road | Buzzing The Net - Yahoo! Sports Canada

      Pictou County hockey player with disability speaks about on-ice incident - Sports - Truro Daily News
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