A Canadian youth hockey game that finished with a lopsided 41-0 scoreline has sparked outrage and a national discussion north of the border about when a goal of skill improvement goes too far.
As brought to our attention from our USA TODAY Sports Media Group teammates at The Big Lead and originally reported by the Waterloo Region Record, a hockey game between 8-year-olds in Canada devolved into a stunningly demoralizing blowout, with the Kitchener Junior Rangers Red squad pulling out a 41-0 whitewash of the Cambridge Hawks Red team.
Tony Martindale, the executive director of the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario, told the Record that 41-0 was the single biggest blowout his organization has ever encountered. And all available intelligence points to a belief that the Rangers Red squad instituted practice structures in an attempt to limit the damage on the scoreboard. Here’s what Kitchener coaches attempted to do, per the Record:
Once the game got out of hand, coach Chris Berscht made it mandatory for his players to pass the puck five times before trying to score and also instructed them to bring the puck back into their own zone before going up ice.
It didn’t work. The Rangers Red squad averaged more than a goal per minute in the game while the Cambridge squad never showed any signs of life.
Naturally, this isn’t entirely on the Rangers team; the Hawks had been outscored 91-4 in six previous losses, so a narrow loss would almost be out of context for them at this point.
Still, everyone agrees that a final score of 41-0 does no good for anyone; not for the Kitchener team, not for the Cambridge squad and not for anyone who has to be associated with that kind of an end product.
“We don’t want this,” Kitchener Minor Hockey Association president Tom Graham told the Record. “This is terrible. This is not who we are by no means. It’s not good for Cambridge kids and it’s also not good for the kids that are playing against them, too.
“We would never put that score up on the board. That’s not a good thing for the kids to see.”