B.C. mom says hockey coach humiliated 12-year-old son
A British Columbia mother says a Pee Wee hockey coach humiliated her 12-year-old son by cuffing the young player on the head with a hockey glove in the change room. But the coach is denying the allegations and other parents have come forward to defend him.
Gloria Cooper said she understands minor hockey can get rough, but Burnaby coach Riaz Noorani pushed too far when he singled out her son in front of other players after a game last September.
A few weeks later, he was cut from the team, which includes some of the best players in the area.
The coach has denied he ever hit the boy and other parents have defended Noorani, arguing his rough style gets results.
Cooper has launched a formal complaint against the coach.
"He ordered my son to stand up . . . and he had asked him to put a helmet on and he took a glove from another child and he hit my son in the head," Cooper told CTV News.
The incident scarred her son, Cooper added. "He said to me, ‘Mom, I'm afraid of going into the dressing room.' As a parent, what am I supposed to do?"
B.C. Hockey's policy on harassment prohibits coaches from making unwelcome physical contact or humiliating a player in front of their peers.
The Burnaby Minor Hockey Association investigated Cooper's complaint and concluded that Noorani did not cuff the boy.
Noorani admitted his style is rough – there's lots of yelling on the ice -- but he's not abusive. He would never hit a child, he told CTV News. If the allegation was true, other young players would have come forward, he said.
"If that happened, do you think that one individual, perhaps one kid, maybe in jest, would say, ‘Mom, Dad, guess what? Riaz cuffed.' Didn't happen."
Some parents said they appreciate Noorani's no-nonsense style. They say the kids need it.
"He's a hard-knock guy," Peter Battistin told CTV News. "He challenges our kids, but that's reality, and if they're not challenged, then they're not going to grow up."
But Cooper stands by her complaint. She said Noorani even admitted he cuffed the boy during a meeting last October, which she recorded.
She said the Burnaby hockey association is "back-pedalling."
"Obviously they don't know I recorded it all and they are worried."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Nafeesa Karim