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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Send the Sun Valley Midgets to the box

Sportsmanship was missing in tournament

Express Staff Writer

There is a modern day scourge in sports that is deserving of an old-fashioned term: hooliganism.

One can look any sport and apply the term; World Cup soccer, the National Football League, boxing. But you would have never thought of applying it to junior hockeyóuntil now.

In Intermountain Hockey League games at the Sun Valley rink over the weekend, the Sun Valley Midget (high school) teams exhibited a reckless and wanton playing style rife with fighting and violent behavior.

Thatís my opinion, having watched what happened while reporting on the games, but some of those sentiments are shared by others involved.

Local spectators and out-of-town fans described Sun Valleyís actions as embarrassing, out-of-control and ugly.

"Obviously, I am pretty embarrassed by the fighting," Sun Valley coach Randy Berner said. "It was awful."

The two Sun Valley Midget teams played four games apiece in the two-day, five-team tournament. In Sun Valley #1s case, two of the games, against Jackson Hole and Boise, featured all-out brawls with players getting tossed out of the game.

Everybody shared responsibility for what happened, players, coaches and the officials.

Jackson Hole assistant coach Bob Norton remarked, "Our game was out of hand. The refereeing was almost non-existent. Itís not that they made bad calls. They didnít make any. They turned their backs to activities going on after the whistle."

Determination and desire are necessary for success in any athletic pursuit, but when it spills out unchecked, the results are sloppy and ugly, as they were over the weekend.

"I donít fault the players as much as the officials and coaches," Norton said. "They can control their boys."

After Jackson defeated Sun Valley, the Wyoming parents held a meeting to decide whether or not to withdraw from the tournament in fear of a player getting hurt. Ultimately, they decided against it.

"If you talk to people from Boise, Jackson or Idaho Falls, they hate playing in Sun Valley. Itís because of how the games are run and the officiating," Norton said.

"It appears to me the coaches and officials in Sun Valley are out to win at all costs."

Reports of the tournament even reached Idaho Falls resident Mike Ten Eyck, president of the Idaho Amateur Hockey Association. He said he "hardly ever" hears about tournaments after the fact. This one, he did.

"Numerous people throughout the state contacted me," Ten Eyck said. "On the youth level you have occasional fights, but this number seems more than normal."

In four games Sun Valley #1 played, there were 57 minor penalties assessed and 15 games misconducts with seven leveled against the Suns.

"In 42 games at the state tournament last year we had one fight," Ten Eyck said. "And it was in the girls division."

Ten Eyck in turn contacted Bob Rosso of Hailey, who is president of Sun Valley Junior Hockey Association.

"There are major concerns and we are seriously looking into it," Rosso said. "We want to know what happened and why."

In response to the what transpired in the tournament, Berner said he will be implementing a "zero tolerance" policy on fighting and game misconducts for his teamís final three tournaments.

The sad irony was this: The tournament was the sixth annual Peter Hall & Richard Reece Memorial, held in memory of Hall and Reece, two Sun Valley junior players who died in an avalanche in 1996.

"We wish you all good luck and good sportsmanship," the program states.

Unfortunately the host Suns displayed neither.


Jackson Hole wins tourney

Jackson Hole emerged the top team in the sixth annual Peter Hall/Richard Reece Memorial Hockey Tournament at Sun Valley, Feb. 8-10.

With the tournament title, the Moose (16-4) also clinched first place in the Intermountain Hockey League.

Sun Valley #1 (23-4-5 overall) went 2-2 in the tournament and finished second in the league with a 14-3-3 mark.

The Suns defeated Salmon 4-0 and Idaho Falls 5-3. Jackson Hole dropped Sun Valley 3-1 and Boise I beat them 5-4. Kent Grimes tallied four points on the weekend.

In seventh place in the nine-team league, Sun Valley II (5-14-1) was 0-4 with losses to Boise, Idaho Falls, Salmon and Jackson. Five players scored two points each.

The Suns will compete in the Northern Idaho High School State Championships at Post Falls this weekend.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.