Study by Harvard Sociologist says Youth Hockey Parents are the Craziest
Posted by Dean Holden at September 18th, 2015
by Warren Shaw, 18 March 2013
The stories of lunatic moms and dads exhibiting unethical and unsportsmanlike behavior in the rink and other youth sports venues seem to be endless and ever growing.
From fisticuffs to verbal altercations and setting poor examples for children – the insanity knows no bounds.
Why do parents get like this when it comes to youth sports? And which sport produces the craziest parents of all?
Harvard Sociologist Hilary Levey Friedman did a study and came up with some eye opening findings, which help sheds light on this “hot-button” topic.
When asked What sport drives parents the craziest?
She responded – Hockey; For creating parents who show no regard for life, body parts, or fairness, and no mercy on their opponents-even when they’re little kids.
Hilary compared parents from eight sporting activities: swimming, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, child beauty pageants, academic competition. She found examples of physical and verbal altercations from each activity and determined football and hockey to have the craziest parents, with hockey beating out football.
She commented “while your child’s sports “career” may be important to you in the long-term, it’s important to remember that what happens on the field or ice when your child is eight is not going to determine the size of their NHL contract, or guarantee a thick Harvard admissions envelope. At that age it’s more important to make sure that your child genuinely enjoys the sport so that they will continue to develop their talents.
She added “for kids in high school where the stakes are higher it’s important to be supportive of your child and set a good example. The reason why many like sports is because they can teach many life lessons. It’s not just how you react when you win; almost more important is how you react when you suffer a defeat. Adults can, and should, model good sportsmanship for their children.
A Massachusetts hockey dad who apparently very strongly believed in fair play was released from prison several after beating another dad to death at the rink over ten years ago.
Thomas Junta of Reading, Mass. was charged with involuntary manslaughter for beating Michael Costin to death at their sons’ hockey game in July of 2000. Sentenced in 2002 to 6 to 10 years (double the penalty for first-time offenders), Junta was released eight years into the sentence.
According to the report, Junta was upset that the team Costin’s son played for was being “overly aggressive” in game against Junta’s son’s team. The two were seen arguing outside the rink, and Junta was ordered to leave. A few moments later, Junta came back and continued to argue ultimately injuring the Rink Manager and ending up on top of Costin punching him in the head and neck, severing an artery in his brain.
That was not the only incident in youth hockey circles; one hockey dad attacked his son’s 12 year old opponent after a league game. Another dad uses a laser pointer to blind an opposing goaltender.
Every incident doesn’t include violence, but the intent is just as wicked. Recently a small number of youth players were selected to participate in an elite hockey camp. The scouts relied on one of the fathers to inform all of the players selected.
The father conveniently “forgot” to tell one of the youth players selected, but informed everyone else of all of the details. The one uniformed youth found out by accident when he overheard another parent discussing the players selected.
We all know the guy with the stopwatch which he uses to compare the amount of play time his child receives versus others. You may have heard him scream “ice time.”
In another incident one ‘hockey mom” slept with several players on her son’s hockey team during a sleep over at her home.
The passion and love for hockey by parents and fans know no bounds and some will go to any length no matter what the perception or the cost.
According to Friedman this phenomenon is evident in all sports but the most pronounced in youth hockey.