Letter: Reader comments on CIAC handling of hockey incident

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To the editor:

Thank you to Brian Jennings for shedding light on an unfortunate but preventable incident that happened during the Conard vs. Hall-Southington ice hockey game.

First let’s start off by calling the hit by Brendan Battison what it is. To quote the West Hartford superintendent, it was dangerous. Battistan sprinted from center ice into the corner, hit Drew Booth from behind ,pushing Booth into the boards head first with Battiston crushing Booth’s head into the boards with the weight of his body.

Booth is a talented athlete. He was going to attend St. Lawrence University and play football at the school this fall, but he will likely never play a contact sport again as a result of the injuries that he sustained.

What happened after the “cheap hit” is a travesty. The CIAC, referees, Conard’s coach, Battison, his parents, the West Hartford athletic director, and the superintendent each had the opportunity to do the right thing and suspend Battison for his careless hit.

Instead the CIAC did nothing, stating it was a school matter. The refs did not change their original call. The Conard coach did not discipline his player. Battiston has apologized, and I am sure that he regrets his actions. But a truly remorseful person would have resigned for the shame he brought onto his teammates and as a gesture to Booth.

All players read and sign a code of conduct form prior to every season. The West Hartford administrators—for whatever reason—did nothing. This, after one-on-one meetings held by the West Hartford athletic director with each team prior to the start of the season, explaining that a zero tolerance policy would be in effect for this type of conduct.

The only good that could have possibly come out of this situation is that someone may have learned that there are consequences to your actions in hockey or any other sport. Instead, the message that was sent is the exact opposite.

Rick Albert, Southington

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