BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Two weeks after the playoffs were suddenly cancelled for three local ’18 and Under’ boys hockey teams, hopes are dimming that they will ever be played.
The executive director of the Western New York Amateur Hockey League, Janice Cavaretta tells News 4 it is logistically too late to reschedule those games involving Amherst, Cheektowaga and West Seneca.
“You got 45 to 50 kids here that had nothing to do with it and they can’t play hockey,” said Cheektowaga Warriors 18 and under boys coach Ken Phillips. He wasn’t there for the game on January 20 when a few of his players made monkey sounds and slurs toward a black player for Amherst, but he says those boys and the assistant coach were suspended for it. “It went overboard. It was admitted to. It was viewed, apologized for. Kids have already sat four games now for it. The coach sat four games.”
That’s why Phillips doesn’t understand why the Western New York Amateur Hockey League is unwilling now to reschedule the playoff games between Amherst, Cheektowaga and West Seneca.Those playoff games were suddenly cancelled March 15th, the night before they were supposed to be played.
Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, the father of the Amherst player who was harrassed, tells me he was very encouraged by a meeting Saturday morning. Officials with the State Hockey Association came to town and met with him and Amherst team officials asking specifics of what was heard before during and after the game.
The State Hockey Association President tells me he’s not opposed to rescheduling the playoffs but leaves it up the WNY League, whose executive Director, Janice Cavaretta tells News 4 it’s too late now, logistically, to let the boys finish the playoffs.
Phillips doesn;t think that’s fair to the players and their families. “They don’t want to end like this. some of these kids aren’t gonna play organized hockey again. They’re gonna go on to college and on with their lives and become nice young men, but at this point, they still want to play some hockey. I think it’s owed to them, that’s my opinon,” said Phillips. “Obviously, the league feels differently.”