Uproar over hit on Baber

Randy Russon
March 31, 2018

The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is investigating a blind side hit on Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Camaryn Baber that took place on the opening shift of a playoff game against the Rayside-Balfour Canadians on Friday.

Police in Sudbury were called to Chelmsford Arena — where Rayside-Balfour plays its home games — after the incident.

No penalty was called on James White, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound forward who delivered the hit on the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Baber, who is a top prospect of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

But Baber left the game immediately after being hit and returned home to Sault Ste. Marie with his mother. Baber suffered a concussion and is not expected to play again this season.

A 2001 birth year forward, Baber was just in his fourth game back with the Thunderbirds after being sidelined since the first week of March after receiving an earlier concussion following a check to the head from Rayside-Balfour forward Evan Krassey.

Following that incident, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Krassey received a 10-game suspension for his third check-to-the-head penalty this season.

Thunderbirds coach John Parco was clearly upset about the latest hit on Baber from a Rayside-Balfour player.

“I am mortified and just so so sad for Cam Baber, a really good kid who just wants to play hockey,” Parco told Hockey News North. “It is unfortunate that Cam has been targeted by players from the same team in what appears to be a staged incident.”

Rayside-Balfour head coach Steve Lauzon called the injury suffered by Baber “very unfortunate. I can’t comment more because the Thunderbirds have sent the play in for league review. I should add that we have two young players who were also injured in last night’s game.”

NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca told Hockey News North that the “league is reviewing the incident and a decision will be made by no later than this afternoon.”

What you think about “Uproar over hit on Baber”

  1. So sorry to hear of this for Camaryn. Since the style of hockey today does not let players to at least self-govern themselves in this type of on ice incident, it will continue I’m afraid.

  2. Earlier this season; in November; Rayside had two defensemen run from behind in the same game against the Thunderbirds in SSM. Both suffered concussions and missed games.

    As the Rayside coach pointed out, last night two Rayside players suffered injuries and did not play much or at all for the last half of the game. A third player was run from behind and went into the boards face first, fortunately he was not seriously hurt.

    While the injury to Baber is definitely unfortunate and everyone is hoping for a full recovery so he can continue to persue his hockey dreams, one has to wonder if such an important player was rushed back into the lineup. After all he did return in time for game five against the Eagles with his team trailing in the series 3 games to 1.

  3. Staged! Seriously, C’mon, why would a team send a league allstar and arguably their best player out to hurt someone and risk being suspended. If it was a 4th liner Parco’s comment could have some merit.

  4. Dave Samuel are you blind it was obviously meant to take him out, 3 seconds into the game and RBC sucks so that was their only chance of making it to the finals, grow up

  5. The recorded hits against Cam Baber from this team have been seen by many individuals…any person with the knowledge of hockey or even without, can see that the hits against Baber by Rayside players were clearly done with the intent to hurt him. He has suffered two concussions at the hands of this team, including the coaches. Any excuses made or comments made stating otherwise, are by persons with their own personal interests/concerns for the RBC. Baber excels at the game of hockey and clearly loves the game…let’s leave the recorded hits in the hands of the league. Ten games for the first time…an indefinite suspension right now…its obvious that even the League has CLEARLY watched the recordings and have based their decisions on the evidence. It’s very disturbing that this team has resorted this low in attempts to move forward. Wishing Cam Baber a full recovery so he can continue his hockey success in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirits.

  6. It’s completely gross that adults condone this type of behaviour. Some people on this thread need to give their head a shake. Best wishes to Cam on a full recovery. Head injuries are nothing to take lightly. Thoughts to his parents while dealing with this worry as well. I’m happy to see the NOJHL looking deeper and handling appropriately.

  7. No excuses for blind hits or hits from behind.. These players at this age know what they are doing and coaches as well . Hope for a good recovery camaryn.

  8. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, because concussions are usually not life-threatening, the effects of a concussion can be serious. Symptoms may last for days weeks or longer. Trying to take a good player out to increase your chances of a win is the sign of a very weak man, there will always be someone bigger and better that will come along and take you out of the game of life. Play fair… don’t hurt to win… this applies to all aspects of life not just hockey.

  9. I cant believe the finger pointing here! Just remember Parco, when you point a finger there is 3 other fingers pointing back at yourself. Usually when finger pointing takes place somwone has a quilty conscious. I really hope you didnt mean it when you told one of the RBC players during our regular season play that he sucked and should quite hockey and just kill himself. You should be disgusted with yourself because of those terrible accusation and comments . I cant believe that for just 1 minute that you or anyone else reading this article would think that anyone on the RBC staff would even think of intentionally hurting another player. All these men have kids also…….

    It’s unfortunate that any player gets injured in a simple game that they love to play. I wish all the players that get hurt in this game a speedy recovery and I am m sure all the RBC fans, parents and Staff are wishing Cam Baber a timely and successful recovery.

    Hey coach! You shoudl be stripped of your “Coach of the year award” for your omments made to these young men.

  10. Hey Big Mac I’m pretty sure Parco never said any of that. Been best friends of his for 30 years. Your just trying to change the subject so people will stop talking about the brutal hit. It was disgusting it happened twice from the same team. You actually have a player sitting out 10 games for a repeat offender of head shots. Common theme here RBC is truly the goon squad. Sad state when players go out to purposely hurt someone. Give the kid 20 games same goes for the coach. Secong offence your done in the league. Time to clean up the NOJHL. Just one man’s opinion

  11. I had the misspleasure of attending my first Junior A hockey game in Rayside when the injury occurred to the Thunderbird player. Being an impartial on looker I was truly discussted at how more than one Rayside fan (grown men) were yelling ” kill him”. Besides that I’m not entirely sure that the home team was there to play hockey in the first period, and after watching the bush league behaviour both on and off the ice I had to leave midway thru the second period. The fans that carry on like bafouons should be ashamed of themselves!

  12. Inconsistent refereeing in the NOJHL and league leadership that is questionable leads to this garbage. From the events described this type of “play” started earlier this season. And now it’s a problem at the end of the season only after a young man is hurt? The league has to want to clean this up. Long suspensions are a start but the problem should have been addressed before it got to this point. Weak leadership

  13. Has anyone heard of Braedan Case. His last game in the NOJHL was Nov 17 2018. He took a hit that ended his hockey season also……………. why is everyone only cocerned about a prospect player. Braedan hasn’t played a game since Nov 2017. This Blog should been started months ago

  14. All the accusers , likely the soo fans and staff on here have short memories. Soo player King was suspended numerous games as was coach of the year Parco and the team fined thousands for what was judged by the league as a staged instigated attack on soo eagle player at opening faceoff in their last series. This is a factual proven event I didn’t see other people all over this site and twitter bashing the soo for that! At least Soo people aren’t fighting with each other and soo minor hockey on this site for a change.

  15. yes..and they were penalized…unlike the Sudbury refs who look the other way when ever the Sault has a team playing in Sudbury for a tournament, league…etc… does Sudbury get their refs from the WWE because they only seem to see what they want to see…especially when it comes to the Soo

  16. This was also my first time attending a game with family as I am from out of town! I have been around hockey my life. Sorry the kid got hurt but come on people, there was no intent there, it was unfortunate that the kid got hurt, after reading all the comments, my opinion is the kid was rushed backed to play! Since the coach and parents of the Soo know this I feel like they are trying to place blame on White! Also, talking about doing anything to win, I had to laugh, the Soo put Barber in the lineup unhealthy to win! So if you want to place blame, blame yourselves! Another comment was made that Barber has a future in the OHL, isn’t White drafted?? As for “calling the cops”. Shame on the mother, you probably ended your own sons career, do you honestly think any team will want him on their team knowing that the if you don’t like what you see you will call the cops! Best of luck to both teams moving forward!

  17. C.B … First of all, quite obvious you don’t know much about hockey…so your “opinion” after reading all the comments is only reflective on one other RBC fan. And if you watched both hits on Baber from this team (if you were even paying attention), the hits on Baber was clearly intentional…10 game suspension and now an indefinite suspension on White with an investigation pending. Hmm, so who is at fault?? And you should be a shamed of yourself for commenting on things you have no clue about!! The TBirds staff had the police involved because of the intentional attacks on Baber. (Know your history). Something needed to be done with this team. And I’m sure the league will be dealing with it accordingly! So don’t rudely diss his mother…because if anyone was watching White…I’m sure it’s that type of player that a team wouldn’t want! Save your modesty for someone who will fall for it!

  18. C.B. , for someone who has “been around hockey (sic) my life” your lack of knowledge of how the game should be played at all levels in contemporary times (skilled, fast. and tough, rather than goon-like) is matched only by your ignorance regarding NOJHL concussion protocol. The protocol was followed by Coach Parco. Your comments about Baber’s mother are insensitive, shameful and truly ignorant. To go after the mother of the player who was hurt is disgusting. You know nothing about Baber’s parents, both of whom played the game at a high level for years, are very aware of concussion protocols and believe the safety and health of their son is far more important than the need to win a game. Baber’s Major Junior A Team is quite aware of what happened and are very supportive of Baber. The facts and RBC’ s disgraceful discipline history are clear. Time for the NOJHL to step up and ensure ANY owner, coach or player who endorses or plays a “beat them in the alley” style is severely disciplined. If not, I suspect Major JR A teams will advise their prospects to play elsewhere.

  19. To intentionally go after a kid and hurt him in my opinion should be suspended for life. Hockey doesn’t need guys like that in the league.

  20. Hate to say it. but concussions seem to be happening more and more since tough guys have been excluded from the game. Not condoning fighting, but 10 years ago no one would target the other teams best player let alone a 16 year old with out fearing for their lives of the other teams tough guy. It was just the presence alone of tough guys that would make you think twice before every hit you made. Call me crazy but I seriously believe things like this wouldn’t happen as much if you had a player on roster to keep things in order. Do you think the rayside player would make this hit if the thunderbirds had a guy who everyone in the league was afraid of? I’m not saying find the biggest goon and add him to your roster but find a guy who can play / big body presence and sticks up for his teammates. A guy who everyone on the other team is aware of when he’s on the ice. This league at one time was full of guys like that. I don’t remember it been a huge problem either.

  21. David Samuel, if you are going to state that something “is a factual proven event”, you may want to ensure that you are getting YOUR facts straight and avoid exaggerations.

  22. Shame on the dirty hits…….especially those that hurt players………there is a need for more stringent penalties on said hits in an effort to eliminate these events………The rules of the game continue to progress as fighting is now close to being eliminated from the game making it a safer environment….I believe its best to take the policemen out of the game………I grew up watching the fights and participating in a few…….it juiced the game up for the fans and players but I cant truly in good conscience say it was ever good for the kids or the game…….The game is fast, tough and physical and inevitably going to have some injuries…….may the officials continue to improve so that games are played under control….they often set the tone for what is acceptable……you have a huge responsibilty men in stripes…………as per concussions………a kid coming back for a game 5 playoff game a month or so after being concussed seems a bit premature……..in fact it seems like a formula for disaster………admit to not being any kind of authority here………just seems this type of injury should be treated with the Detroit Red Wings philosophy of developing players……..bring them up to the Big Show when they are over ripe to give them the best chance to succeed……in essence…….dont send the kid back out for more immediately after he clears the concussion protocol……..let his health ripen some more……. we all only have one brain…….lets do the best we can to protect these players!!!

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