Lacrosse coach charged with assault after referee beaten
Ontario Provincial Police have charged a lacrosse coach with assault after they say a verbal dispute with a referee descended into a physical altercation at a game on Friday.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, a spokesperson for the Ontario Lacrosse Officials Association (OLOA) said the incident occurred after a coach and six players were ejected from a game at Rotary Place in Orillia, Ont. for fighting.
“There was an incident on the floor involving several players fighting and a coach verbally berating the on-floor referees,” said OLOA special advisor Shane Hubbard in the email.
“Referee-in-chief Gord Brown went to ensure that nothing untoward was happening in the dressing room hallway and that the coach was indeed leaving the arena when the altercation occurred.”
OPP said they responded to the arena after receiving a call around 10 p.m. about an assault. Officers found the victim bleeding “as a result of a physical altercation,” investigators said in a news release Saturday night.
“Mr. Brown (the referee) did go to the hospital and spent much of the night there,” Hubbard said. “He suffered lacerations to the head and face and some other facial trauma, the extent of which will be determined in the coming days.”
A message posted to Brown’s Facebook account said he would beseeing an eye specialist on Sunday.
“The texts from family, friends and fellow refs, the messages of support from the amazing lacrosse community that I am a part of in Canada and the U.S. have been truly inspiring,” he added.
The coach, 47-year-old Dwayne Palomaki, was arrested Saturday and released on a promise to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice on July 23. He has been charged with assault causing bodily harm.
Hubbard said the coach has been “suspended indefinitely pending a disciplinary hearing” which is standard practice for incidents involving physical altercations with an official.
The OLOA has been calling for greater protections of officials “for a number of years,” Hubbard said.
“The response, in our opinion, has not been adequate.”
The Ontario Junior Lacrosse League wrote a letter of support saying they “stand by” the officials and referees.
“Without them there would be no games,” The statement continues. “They do not deserve to be insulted, belittled or assaulted when they are just trying to do their jobs.”