The MIdget AAA team (16,17,18 year olds) plays in the Mid-West Midget Elite League... a youth hockey league under the supervision of USA Hockey. Fighting is not permitted in the league. But, during a recent practice the coach in question had his players remove their gloves and helmets and put them through fighting drills.
Parents say teaching their kids to fight is necessary for them to advance to higher levels of hockey. They also support the coaches decision to teach fighting in an supervised and controlled setting.
Despite the immediate supervision of the coach, Bob McClean, who witnessed the practice, says players appeared hurt and some bloodied. Players even admit one teammate suffered a concussion during the drill.
Jim Cain, general manager of the Summit at Capital Centre - which owns the team and employs the coach - is conducting and investigation into the practice. Another investigation by the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association is likely to follow.