WATCH: Coaches trade punches in Ontario minor hockey donnybrook
Referees try to breakup a brawl in which the Onaping Falls Huskies fought with the Mountain Blues during an Ontario minor hockey tournament this past weekend. (YouTube screen grab)
The Onaping Falls Huskies major midgets finished their season with a bang -- and a biff and a pow -- when a line brawl erupted in the dying moments of a tournament final in Bradford, Ont., on Sunday.
The Huskies won, capping an impressive streak of 85-1-1, going back to last season (they were a perfect 36-0-0 in league play this year), but that wasn't really what people were talking about this week.
They were talking about the melee on the ice, which escalated to the point where players came over the boards of both benches, and punches flew between the opposing coaches.
The whole sequence was captured on video and posted to YouTube, where the clip had received more than 10,000 looks by Thursday evening.
"We're all quite embarrassed about it," said Emile Lavoie, president of the Onaping Falls Minor Hockey Association. "It's nothing we're proud of, for sure."
Lavoie was behind the bench when the ruckus started, working the door as an assistant coach.
He said the game had been a good one up until the last three minutes, when one of the players on the Mountain Blues team, from the Hamilton area, "took a cheap shot at one of our players."
That incident isn't shown in the video, but it "brought the tension up," said Lavoie, and helps explain the violence that erupted in the final minute.
With the Huskies leading 2-1, the Blues had pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but were pinned in their own end. As the final seconds ticked down, two players dropped the gloves, and others jumped in. Soon multiple fights were going on simultaneously.
The officials eventually restored a semblance of order and began ushering the combatants off the ice, but in the meantime tempers were boiling over between the two coaching staffs.
"The worst thing was when their coach came over to our bench," said Lavoie. "That's something in hockey that you never, ever do."
In the video, an individual from the Blues team can be seen approaching the Huskies bench; he's then knocked to the ice by a punch to the face from Onaping coach Todd Brown.
Brown said he regrets the action, but said it was a reflex to the Blues coach coming at him first.
"Before we even knew it, he was right in front of my face at our door," he said. "Next thing you know he took a swing at me, caught me just under the nose and cut me a bit."
Brown admits he "ended up getting in a better blow" against his adversary, whose nose was bloodied and may have been broken. "That's the rumour, but I don't know," said the Huskies coach.
In retrospect he wishes he hadn't thrown the punch, but said "it's the heat of the moment, and you're not anticipating anything like that will happen -- and the next thing it does."
South Simcoe Police officers were summoned by tournament organizers and interviewed both teams, but no charges were laid, said Brown.