One of the hockey referees involved in a post-game altercation with parents in New Jersey last winter says he and his officiating partner are now banned from handling home games involving the district in question.
Dave Brown told New Jersey 101.5 FM that he and reffing partner Sal Bianco were assaulted by a pair of parents following a Feb. 7 game between Manalapan (Englishtown, N.J.) and Howell (Farmingdale, N.J.). Brown said he received a phone call last Thursday from the Shore Conference referee assignor and was informed that he will no longer be working “Freehold District school system games.”
“There’s been no explanation at all; I was just taken off all my games,” Brown told the radio station.
With most of the district games played at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall, N.J., Brown’s hometown. February’s incident occurred at the building formerly known as Howell Ice World, where Brown had already requested to no longer officiate.
Brown told New Jersey 101.5 he worked two district games at Jersey Shore Arena on Dec. 13.
According to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, schools and districts have the right to request that certain officials not be assigned to their games.
Brown doesn’t agree with the decision, though.
“It’s the first time I’ve been on the ice since February to work games, and now I’m shut out of working games in my home arena,” Brown said.
Per police reports, Brown and Bianco were approached by parents — initially Anthony Gallicchio — in the referee locker room where the altercation occurred. During the game, a player’s mother was ejected, and it is alleged Brown made derogatory comments against the woman after her ejection, which prompted the parental visit to the refs’ quarters.
One of the parents — Robert Dovenero — allegedly grabbed Brown’s throat during the altercation, but it was concluded that all parties “were physical with each other” and it was a “mutual fight.” Both parents refused medical care following the incident; the referees were treated at a local hospital.
“My client was the peacemaker who was trying to break up the altercation and caught in the middle,” Robert Fernicola, Dovenero’s attorney in Allenhurst, told 101.5.
No charges were filed by Howell police and individual complaints were dropped in April. But Months later, Dovenero filed a lawsuit against Brown for injuries sustained during the incident. Brown later countersued.
Freehold attorney Rich Lomurro, who represents Brown, called the legal process since February an “incredibly frustrating experience.”