Teenage hockey player suspended by mistake will get to play after all

Teenage hockey player suspended by mistake will get to play after all

After being forced onto the sidelines because of a fight he never fought, Seymour Bale will lace up his skates tonight after all. 

"I'm really happy the suspension is lifted, but I'm not that happy about the answers," the 13-year-old told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Seymour plays defence on the Rosemont Chevaliers, a Bantam A hockey team. He has served three games of a four-game suspension for fighting during a game Oct. 22.

He never raised a fist.

A referee wrote down his jersey number, 18, instead of the one belonging to the right player, number 19, on the scoresheet. By the time his coach figured out what had happened, it was too late — Hockey Montreal refused to fix the error, and Seymour was forced to sit out.

The organization admitted a mistake was made, but never reversed the suspension. The player who was supposed to be suspended kept playing.

The league's referee committee met last night and decided to reverse the error themselves.

"The referees were the only ones that could fix the mistake, if they agreed that … it's the wrong number," said Serge Guay, the chair of Hockey Montreal's disciplinary committee.

Not backing down

Guay was insistent that he and his committee couldn't make the correction because the mistake on the scoresheet was only caught almost two weeks later on Nov. 2, which was too late.

He pointed out they reduced the suspension from six games to four. The player who participated in the fight won't be suspended, he said, because it's too late for that as well.

Guay claimed the rule setting a deadline on when mistakes can be reversed comes from Hockey Quebec.

But Yvan Dallaire, Hockey Quebec's director of rules and regulations, said that rule doesn't exist, and that if a mistake is made, it should be fixed as a matter of "common sense."

Guay countered that the rule does exist, but it's a matter of interpretation, and common sense has nothing to do with the fact that the deadline had passed.

Asking for an apology

Seymour's father Alan Bale asked for an apology from the organization. Guay wouldn't say whether Bale and his son would get one, adding it's up to the management of Hockey Montreal to make that decision.

"I'm a little bit unhappy about how much they stuck to their guns on their opinion," Bale said.

Seymour says after everything that has happened, he still doesn't trust the organization but he's excited to play tonight.

"I'll be extremely happy. It's going to be amazing."