High school hockey fans told to tone things down

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

ROCKVILLE, Md – Spectators are being told to tone things down at some local high school ice hockey games, but there’s only so much schools themselves can do about it.

That’s because ice hockey is a club sport in Montgomery County, meaning it’s not officially affiliated with the schools, and games are held at ice rinks that are not on school property.

Students tell WTOP spectators often spew a lot of four-letter words, and fights sometimes break out.

Game announcers warn kids they can be ejected or worse for breaking rink rules. Extremely bad behavior can lead to a forfeited game, or even criminal or civil charges.

Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville is doing something new this hockey season to keep spectators in check.

“Teams are required to ask parents or adults to be game monitors,” says Mary Woods, parent manager of the Walt Whitman Vikings ice hockey team.

The monitors wear yellow vests and watch the crowd for trouble. If they see any, they report it to Maryland National Capital Park Police officers who also patrol the rink.

Woods says in advance of last night’s game between rivals Whitman and Churchill, she asked Whitman’s principal to remind students during morning announcements that there was a game, and that they should be on their best behavior.

Woods says she has not seen any major trouble at the rink this season, but she says problems with students can happen at any sporting event.

“I was at a high school basketball game a couple of weeks ago and a fight broke out there, so it’s not just hockey,” says Woods. “I want to make sure that hockey doesn’t get a bad name.”

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