Referee arrested after physically taking player off the ice - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Referee arrested after physically taking player off the ice

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The following photo of Stephen Levins was provided by the Cromwell Police Department The following photo of Stephen Levins was provided by the Cromwell Police Department
CROMWELL, CT (WFSB) -

A referee was arrested for physically taking a player off the ice over the weekend during a youth hockey tournament in Cromwell.

Officers were called to an incident at the Champions Skating Center, which is located at 6 Progress Dr., at about 6 p.m.

According to police, 55-year-old Stephen Levins, of Rocky Hill, was refereeing a weekend-long tournament made up of several Connecticut travel teams of players ages 13 to 14 from across the state.

Police said the game got ugly when a player flung a puck in Levins' direction. The player was asked to leave the ice after Levins called a "match penalty."

After the penalty was called, the unidentified player headed to the bench area. Police said the referee "physically escorted the player off the ice."

Parents were upset about the "physical contact between the referee and the player" and tried "to get onto the ice," police said.

Police came to the Champions Skating Center and arrested Levins. None of the parents were arrested.

Levins, who was charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor, told Eyewitness News that he had no comment and had hired a lawyer.

The Connecticut Hockey Commission, which was the league in charge of the tournament, told Eyewitness News they're investigating the incident. Levins won't be refereeing any games until that investigation has been completed.

Coincidentally, state lawmakers took on an issue pertaining to youth referees on Monday. Those lawmakers held a public hearing on a bill that would raise the penalties against  parents who assault a referee.

The bill is in direct response to a 2006 incident when a parent in Hamden beat his daughter's coach with a baseball bat because of a call.

"Perhaps it's the rise in the money that's involved in professional sports or relatives of the players are getting far too enthusiastic and getting actually violent and committing horrendous assaults upon sports referees," said state Rep. David Labriola, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

As for the situation with Levins, parents told Eyewitness News they can be part of the problem.

"Parents are of course very protective and very emotional and sometimes unfortunately things happen like this," said Ralph Criscolo, who is a hockey dad.

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