Mother of beaten goalie questions hockey's fighting culture

A Saskatchewan mother is raising questions about fighting in hockey after she says she watched her 15-year-old son get beaten on the ice.

Even though a year has passed, Sheri Kaiswatum still gets emotional when she remembers watching her son, Gino Kennedy, go down at the 2012 First Nations Winter Games.

Fans cheered as the goalie from one team skated across the ice and started hitting Kennedy, who was the goalie of the opposing team.

Kaiswatum said her son never fought back.

She has watched the scene several times on videos captured by some audience members.

"I was just, I was shocked, standing there," she recalls. "When he went down again, that's when I knew that he was hurt."

Kennedy was taken to hospital and was treated for several injuries.

Both goalies suspended

Police laid an assault charge against boy who beat Kennedy, but both players were suspended by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.

The association told CBC News it does not review video when making decisions about suspensions. It says officials have to make the call about whether a player was fighting back, at the time an incident happens.

"When you only have a referee and two linesmen and there's five incidents going on, they're writing down things and they're trying to make interpretations," said Kelly McClintock the general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.

He called the fight an isolated incident, adding that events like these are far and few between.

Mother questions fighting in hockey

It took Kennedy several months to feel comfortable enough to get back on the ice, and the whole event has left his mother questioning hockey's fighting culture, and "the innuendos of hockey — you know, that fighting is accepted."

This is not the first time something like this has happened in Canada. The parents of a 16-year-old Ontario boy who was repeatedly punched in the head during a midget 'A' game, came out with their story early this year because they wanted the attacker to be held accountable.

The goalie who allegedly attacked Kennedy is scheduled to appear in court on an assault charge in September.

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