Hockey holding penalty escalates into more with referee abuse

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Police: Hockey player assaults referee over holding penalty at New Kensington skating rink

Brian C. Rittmeyer, October 8, 2020

A Buffalo Township man allegedly attacked a hockey referee at Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington after the referee called a holding penalty against him.


New Kensington police charged Jeremy Gregory Gilbert, 43, of Buffalo Township with assault on a sports official, a first-degree misdemeanor, in which they allege Gilbert repeatedly punched the referee and pushed his head into the ice.

According to a criminal complaint, the assault happened shortly before midnight Friday at the Craigdell Road arena. Police spoke with the victim at the police station Saturday night.

The victim said he was serving as an official referee for an adult ice hockey game. When two players collided near the end of the second period, the referee said he saw Gilbert grab the other player’s stick and hold onto it as he went down to the ice, for which the referee assessed a penalty for holding.

The victim said Gilbert approached and bumped into him, while asking if he had seen the other player skate into him. He claimed Gilbert raised his stick toward him, causing him to grab onto it.

Gilbert allegedly responded by punching him about three times.

Another referee and other players helped in getting Gilbert off the victim. Gilbert was ejected from the game; the victim suffered a cut to the bridge of his nose.

The other referee, who said Gilbert was a fill-in player, told police he saw Gilbert skate toward the victim and bump into him. The other referee said he saw Gilbert on top of the victim, forcefully pushing his head into the ice and throwing multiple punches.

The other referee said the victim was bleeding from the cut on his nose.

Gilbert could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Gilbert is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 29, 2020, before District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. 
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