At 15 years old, Félix Savage does not dream of one day refereeing in the National Hockey League. He would prefer to become a police officer, hence the idea of raising awareness among the population about what he experienced a few weeks ago when leaving an ice rink in the Quebec region.
The teenager was paid just under $30 that day to be the head referee for an M13 C level match, commonly called pee-wee C, at the Marc-Simoneau Sports Center in Beauport. Insulted by some parents of players during the match, he could not contain his emotions and burst into tears after the match.
“The most important thing for me, as a referee, is to ensure the safety of the players on the ice,” he said spontaneously. I am a calm and respectful person on the ice. I expect the same from the coaches and the parents in the stands… Because behind the referee there is someone who has feelings and if there is no referee, there is no referee in hockey.”
Unfortunately, Felix’s story is not unique, but calls for respect and civility towards referees can never be too numerous for certain coaches and also for certain parents. The issue of a shortage of referees in Quebec has been recurring for several years and does not only affect hockey.
It was Stéphanie Denis, Félix’s mother, who first contacted The newspaper to tell of his son’s recent misfortune. This teenager, who lives in Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, loves hockey, but also has other interests similar to those of young people his age. A music student at La Seigneurie secondary school, he says that he likes everything related to creation, including the popular game. Minecraft.
“As a human being you can make mistakes, but is it that bad? his mother asks. Personally, I don’t think so. He often has to deal with frustration from coaches who, unfortunately, disrespect him. It is important to remember that he is only 15 years old and is just starting out in this field.”
“During the last game I attended, I was deeply disturbed by the comments made against my son,” she adds. A mother, visibly unhappy about the loss of her son’s team, attacked him inappropriately. This goes beyond simple discontent and hearing comments like this about your own child is heartbreaking for a mother.
To have fun…
In addition to verbal violence, Félix would have been the victim of physical threats from the mother in question.
“We do the best we can as a referee,” declared the young man. Like the players, we are still developing. What bothers me is that there are parents who sometimes love more than their children and forget that the main objective is to have fun.
Félix is categorical: it is not one or two more complicated games that will prevent him from continuing to referee. Rather he hopes to use this role to boost the confidence of him, who, he admits, sometimes tends to doubt himself. The only thing he asks in return is a minimum of respect.