An ugly altercation between a team owner and two on-ice officials has cast doubt on the remaining schedule for the Federal Hockey League’s 2018-19 season. Elmira Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols allegedly attacked two officials after a game against the Carolina Thunderbirds.
According to WENY News, here’s what went down:
Officers were called to the First Arena for a report of a disturbance involving game officials and management for the Enforcers.
Upon arrival, police say they were met by an unruly crowd complaining of “inconsistent performance” by referees.
Though he was not named in the police report, in an email, FHL Referee In-Chief Eugene Binda said Enforcers Owner Robbie Nichols was involved in the altercation. Additionally, he said one referee had been pushed and the other had his shirt torn. Citing the incident, Binda pulled referees from all scheduled FHL games.
FHL referee in chief Eugene Binda has subsequently said that he has “unpublished all the games”, citing safety concerns for officiating staff.
Binda’s own words, again as provided by WENY News:
“I have been with the FHL since its inaugural season and have battled with the league on multiple occasions on the safety of the officiating staff,” wrote Binda. “Today was the last straw. I cannot in good conscience continue in my role as the supervisor of officials and in the future have one of you seriously injured by a player or team administrator.”
Binda went on to say, “Until the league figures out who they want to take over, I will not be back! This was an absolute disgrace...I would not be able to forgive myself if one of you were hurt under my watch.”
Suffice it to say, the FHL have a HUGE problem on their hands if they can’t either make amends with their officiating staff, or find replacement officials in time for this upcoming weekend’s games.
The team is apparently soliciting social media for any help they can get.
Yikes. You know you’re in trouble when you’re reaching out to the fans to ref your games. Double yikes.