What if… you decline the opportunity to appeal a ruling which would give your team another chance?
It’s the sudden death quarterfinal of a Tier 2 recreational level atom game. In other words, the kids are 9-10 years old. As the second tier, there’s quite a mixed bag of skill, from very poor to a couple on every team who can lift the puck and put it sort of where they aim. The game is tied 2-2 after regulation, which leads to a next-goal-wins overtime.
About halfway through the OT, one of the two kids on the opposition who can actually skate and shoot steps by your defenceman at your blueline. Your defenceman trips him. The ref, who’s about 14, calls a tripping penalty. But at the penalty box, his partner in the two-man system talks to him and it becomes a penalty shot. Except the kid who got tripped was hurt and can’t take the shot. The ref tells the other team to pick someone else.
You call over the ref to argue that only a player on the ice at the time can take the shot (which is correct). Your kids gather at the bench to listen in. It’s a chaotic scene. The ref insists anyone can take it and allows the shot to be taken—with a few players from each team kneeling on the ice near their benches, another officiating gaffe.
The opposition has two gunners: the kid who was tripped and another boy who was on the bench. They pick him. He scores. Game and your season over.
The opposition does its cheering then gathers at centre to shake hands. But you’re still at your bench with your players as you argue again with the ref who chose to hang around.
Should you have argued AFTER the shot?
Immediately after the game, angry parents approach you to appeal the result based on the official’s erroneous call. One parent videotaped the OT and can identify which opposition kids were on the ice at the time. Do you appeal in a tier two atom recreational level game? Or do you just explain to your kids that the ref made a mistake and that’s the way it goes?
Here’s what happened: the team did appeal and won. Both teams report to a rink a couple of days later. The penalty shot is replayed, but is taken by the original injured player because now he’s healthy (he couldn’t have taken it originally because he could barely move). If he scores, the teams leave after what is a two minute warmup and zero playing time.
He scores. Remember he was one of two on that team who could do it. Game over, again. They leave triumphant, again. Your kids hang around for an impromptu practice. Then they go home, again.
Was it worth it?
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