Butler County

PIHL bans Armstrong student section at hockey games after vulgar chants directed at female goalie

KITTANNING, Pa. — “Disappointing and disgusting” is how coaches, parents and school administrators describe what happened to the female goalie for the Mars hockey team in the middle of a game against Armstrong High School last week at Belmont Complex.

The Armstrong student section was seen and heard on camera footage chanting derogatory words at the female goalie. They made references to tampons and body parts at times. Despite the goalie being seen on the ice in tears, and an arena full of people, nobody did anything to stop the behavior.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League is now investigating the incident and indefinitely banned the entire student section from hockey games.

“It’s degrading, and it’s disrespectful to women,” Heather Shoup said. Her son is on the Butler High hockey team and was matched up against Armstrong High Monday night. “They went over the line, and it’s uncalled for,” Shoup added.

The Armstrong High School principal says he was first made aware of what happened from an upset Mars parent. The principal says he launched an investigation immediately and called this entire incident “very disturbing.”

Family members of Armstrong players condemned what happened to the young lady but don’t feel the players who had no involvement should be punished.

“I don’t agree with what was said, but my grandson is out there playing hockey, he was innocent as far as I’m concerned and the little girl was too,” an Armstrong grandmother said. “It was unfortunate, it was unfortunate for all the kids on the ice,” she added.

The Armstrong school administration reached out to the goalie to formally apologize and said they support the student section being banned for now.

The PIHL executive committee will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss how long Armstrong students will be suspended from games.