Hockey, its an emotional game eh boys? Hell yeah. Tempers get hot, and things can get heated pretty quickly on the ice. But the boys know how to leave things on the ice.
Sometimes though, fans actually think they are part of the competition. Sometimes, fans get carried away and try to get involved in the game or get involved with the players.
Michael Higgins with the NAHL’s North East Generals was charged the other day after an altercation with fans at the conclusion of a game in Johnstown.
While having any interaction with opposing teams fans is simply not a good idea, reacting to them is never smart.
Having watched the video, multiple times in real time and an slow motion, it looks like Higgins reacted to something that took place beyond the fence barrier at the arena. It looks like something happened beyond that barrier to entice Higgins into pushing the barrier.
Higgins in his statement says a fan spit on him. If this is the case it would certainly explain, though not excuse Higgins reaction.
The problem not discussed in this Johnstown incident and clearly visible in the video is that security in Johnstown is not adequate for this playoff environment.
Fans should never be able to get that close to players after a game. The fence that is clearly inadequate and was pushed in on the Generals players and Coaches looks like it is from the 1960’s and clearly does not protect players or fans.
Its an emotional game, but arena’s have a responsibility to make sure that no one has the ability to let their emotions get the best of them. While players and fans need to be held accountable for their actions, arena’s also need to be held accountable for their security protocols and barriers.