Youth hockey coach fired after grabbing opposing player

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut youth hockey assistant coach has been fired after grabbing an opposing player and causing him to fall to the ice near the end of a tournament game in New Hampshire on New Year’s Eve.

Corey Sutherland, who also is a police officer in Vernon, Connecticut, was the coach involved in the Dec. 31 incident in Hooksett, New Hampshire, Vernon police confirmed Friday. Police have launched an internal affairs investigation.

The South Windsor Youth Hockey Association said in a statement Wednesday that the coach was “terminated and forbidden from coaching” in any association events, but it did not name the coach.

“This type of action is not indicative of our organization and what we strive to be,” the association said. “We strongly oppose and are offended by this type of action.”

Sutherland did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment Friday.

Sutherland was an assistant coach with the South Windsor Knights, which lost the Dec. 31 game 6-0 to the St. Nick’s Fully Loaded team from Haverhill, Massachusetts.

With about 5 seconds left in the game, video shows Sutherland reaching out from the team’s box and grabbing a player who was skating by at the top of his back, causing the player to fall to the ice.

“I was disgusted when I saw the video,” Tama Parsons, coach of the Haverhill team, said in a Facebook post. “What if (the player) was seriously hurt? What if he hit his head on the ice?”

Vernon police said Sutherland disclosed the incident to them, and he has not previously been the subject of an internal investigation since he began working there in December 2020 after a 20-year career with Connecticut State Police.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.