On-ice altercation prompted by ref's calls

NORTH TONAWANDA — The Niagara County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report of a fight at a local hockey arena where a referee said he was attacked on the ice by a player who didn't like his calls during a game. 

Reports indicate that sheriff's deputies were called at 11:30 p.m. Nov. 15 about a disturbance at the Hockey Outlet.

Deputies interviewed a referee who said he sustained minor injuries after a player skated at him on the ice and started throwing punches before taking him down to the ice in a chokehold.

The referee told investigators that the incident occurred after he called numerous penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct on the player, who was later kicked out of the game. The referee reported that the players on the other team had to pull the attacking player off of him and escort him off the ice.

Reports indicated that the referee had multiple lacerations on his left hand, a contusion on his right elbow and a sore back. The referee declined emergency medical services when offered.

Reports indicate that deputies visited the player at his home and the player said the referee grabbed him by the throat, causing the physical altercation when he "reacted" and took the referee to the ground. The player spoke about his displeasure with the official's calls during the game, but stated that the referee came at him.

No charges were filed on Friday. Investigators inquired about camera footage from inside the arena and both individuals were advised that the investigation would continue.

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