Following altercations at a game last month, the Kahnawake Hunters will now be mandated to provide a minimum of three security officers for all remaining games in the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League (OJBLL).
“If you’re going to do it, do it for the whole league,” said Derek Stacey, owner of the Kahnawake Hunters. “Don’t just do it for us. I don’t think we need it.”
It’s not clear how the altercation on April 30 started, but disruption started on the floor and spread to the stands, with spectators from both the Kahnawake Hunters and their opposition, the Gloucester Griffins, getting involved. Stacey explained that he entered the stands to try to diffuse the situation.
“I went up there to try and calm things down and I got people to sit down on both sides,” Stacey explained. “After that the Peacekeepers got there, and I let them take care of it.”
Punishments of this kind are not unheard of in the OJBLL, though they are uncommon. Stacey explained that there are possibly two other teams who have been asked to provide security after an incident of this kind, and that the Hunters were mandated some years ago to provide security after an altercation between referees and ownership. He noted that these measures aren’t cheap, and the price of hiring security can be hard on a community club.
“I think it’s all BS myself, because now it’s an extra $4,500 it’s costing us,” he explained. He also noted that one Hunters player was excluded from six games, another from five, and another from three, as well as the club receiving $600 in fines.
Stacey hired RJ Snook, a security guard at Playground Poker who runs a small security company. Snook will ensure that three security guards are present at every Hunters game going forward.
Guidelines for Hunters’ security guards were laid out in an email from Reg Holinshead, vice president junior-major at the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA), and Ian Garrison, vice president officiating.
“These officers must be contracted by the club, and the agency which employs them must be identifiable by their clothing or uniform to everyone within the facility,” the email reads, going on to note that officers must ensure no unauthorized individuals enter dressing rooms before, during, or after games, and that officers must be on-site to check in with officials 20 minutes before and after games.
The arena directly surrounding the visiting team’s bench must also be inaccessible to all spectators during the game, and other clubs are being “strongly recommended” to implement similar security measures, per the OLA email.
“These conditions are being imposed to protect the participants of the games, as well as the guests who attend your arena,” the email concludes. “Should there be further incidents or altercations, escalating action will take place at the discretion of the OLA.”
“It’s over and done now,” said Stacey, who said that players were focusing on their upcoming games and not dwelling on negativity. “It’s in the past. In sports, you can’t worry about what’s happened in the past. You always have to look at what’s coming up in the future.”
The OLA did not respond to The Eastern Door’s request for comment by deadline.