Chris St-Pierre

For The Community Press

KAPUSKASING – Saturday February 2nd, four suspensions were administered after a couple of fights broke out in a final regular season matchup between the Kapuskasing Flyers and the North Bay Major Midget Trappers at the Sports Palace.

In last week’s issue, a duration wasn’t specified in the game recap due to a lack of information and an attempted appeal to the Northern Ontario Hockey Association by the Flyers’ organization.

Kap forward Kobe Barrette will officially miss two games for the initial scrap against Robert Brisson while second-year Flyer Samuel Vachon will be sidelined for five games for instigating a second tilt on the same play against Cameron Pariseau, a misconduct called “second fight, same stoppage”.

It’s important to note that both opposing players were suspended for the same amount of time as their respective dance partners.

Kapuskasing Flyers general manager Darren Potvin explained that “we had some concrete evidence/video footage from two different angles that we submitted to the NOHA and the GNML, only to be informed that the video evidence that we submitted was inconclusive,” which turned out to be a huge hit to their playoff plans. “To sit here today, a week before we open up our playoffs, and have arguably two of our top goal scorers or offensive weapons out of the lineup for the semi-finals and potentially the finals is a big blow to our hockey club.”

To really hammer things home, Potvin shared some gripes about how the NOHA makes it’s decisions in these types of cases.

“This decision, and I’ve said this to the NOHA the exact same way, and it might get me in some trouble here for saying this publicly, it makes a mockery of the way the NOHA does their business,” said Potvin. “It makes a mockery of the way the Great North Midget League does their business and we sit here every year and we wonder why there are 50 to 65 Midget age players in the NOJHL. Well, this is a prime example as to why.

“Sam Vachon will sit out for potentially, or in reality, five of our six playoff games this year. He may only play one more game this year and for really, nothing. I mean three punches we’re thrown by Vachon and Pariseau while Barrette, not a single punch was thrown.

“The NOHA had video evidence of this, they chose not to make the right decision.

“The best explanation that I got was that the video was inconclusive, that there was only three seconds of everything that had gone on and that they couldn’t see what Barrette’s and Brisson’s hands were doing. So they wouldn’t overturn the suspension for those reasons.”

Potvin continued his harsh tone, saying “the only thing that’s inconclusive about all of this is the way the NOHA operates on a daily basis,” calling it “a joke that a possible top three goal scorer like Vachon has to sit out five playoff games for what happened the night of Feb. 2th.”

As it pertains to the vitality of northern Ontario Midget hockey, he believes that “the next time the NOHA, the GNML and all these people sit at the table and think about ‘how are we going to save Midget hockey’, it has to start with the referees making decisions on the ice and secondly the NOHA making the right decision when they have the opportunity to when an appeal of a video review is put forward.”

The Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Great North Midget League have both been asked to comment, but neither have given one as of press time.