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RCMP to recommend charge against hockey coach who tripped boy

By Erica Bulman, 24 Hours Vancouver

The RCMP said Wednesday it plans to recommend an assault charge against a minor hockey coach who tripped a 13-year-old player following a game last weekend, causing the child to break his wrist.

The incident occurred following the gold-medal match of the Thunderbird youth spring hockey league at Thunderbird Arena on Saturday, when the Hornets defeated the Richmond Steel 5-4.

"We're expecting to forward assault charge recommendations to Crown counsel, probably in the next month and a half," said RCMP Sgt. Paulena Gidda. "The matter is still under investigation. There is still video to review. There are still statements to obtain from onlookers as well as parents that were at the arena."

A hockey mom in the stands captured on video Hornets coach Martin Tremblay tripping the child during the post-game handshake.

The footage shows the coach shake hands with the goalie of the opposing Richmond team. Tremblay then appears to purposefully march down the line of Richmond Steel players before thrusting out his right foot to the side and hooking the youth's ankle, causing another player to also fall.

Tremblay then spins around, jabbing his finger toward the second player, who'd leapt back up to his feet to face the coach.

The Mounties arrested Tremblay following the incident, and released him the same day, on a promise to appear for a court date toward ends of August, Gidda said.

According to reports, witnesses said the coach claimed to have slipped on the ice. The boy is now wearing a cast, according to friends.

Gord Schmidt, president of the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association, wouldn't confirm reports the organization had suspended Tremblay.

Tammy Hohlweg, whose two boys were on the Richmond Steel team that played that day, said the coach should be suspended for life.

"He shouldn't be around children," said Hohlweg, who is also the manager of the Richmond Steel. "Can you imagine what he would have done if his team had lost?"

Hohlweg said the game had been amicable.

"There were only one or two penalties in game. It wasn't a rough or violent game," she said. "There was nothing to account for that. The whole thing is disgusting.

"I have spoken to a couple parents on our team; their outrage is the same as everybody else that sees the video. They're horrified."

UBC's athletic and recreation department, which runs the Thunderbird Spring hockey league, will review the incident, and if necessary take action, said UBC public affairs director Lucie McNeill.