A dispute between a hockey team owner and its recently fired coach led to a call to the police.
Kevin Garnett was released by the Muskoka Anglers on Wednesday from his head-coaching duties. Thursday afternoon he says he returned to Gravenhurst Arena to retrieve some of his personal items that were in the team dressing room.
According to Garnett, team co-owner Brian Fish tried to block him from entering.
“Brian was standing at the door and wouldn’t let me in and the scuffle (ensued),” confirms Garnett.
Garnett forced his way past, with Fish calling the police and filing a complaint that Garnett had struck him on the cheekbone.
Bracebridge OPP confirm officers responded to the incident at the arena but no charges were laid.
Fish, meanwhile, says that because it took place in the doorway of the dressing room and it happened quickly the actual contact might not have been seen by the players or other people there at the time.
“He just kept walking into me and I put a foot back and held my ground and that’s when the assault took place,” Fish claims. He says he had asked for Garnett to text him and organize a time after the players had left the arena.
Garnett says he waited until the practice was over and that some of the players were going to help him move the equipment to his truck.
Fish says that he has filed an information in writing with the Bracebridge court. This is a legal means where information is presented to the court by a private citizen and it is then referred to either a provincial court judge or a designated justice of the peace, who then hold a special hearing to determine the substance of the complaint. Fish says the hearing is to take place later this month.
Garnett attended the Anglers’ Friday night game against the Greater Toronto Jaguars, an 8-3 victory. He says he was on hand to make sure the Remembrance Day ceremony he had organized went off without any problems.
Fish said he was fine with Garnett being there, but does not want him to continue hanging around the arena for team practices and games.
Garnett insists it will be his last time helping the Anglers. He does feel bad about the kids on the team and what they have gone through. At one point Garnett and his wife Melanie were housing 18 team members.
On Wednesday night both men confirm Fish went to Garnett’s home and told the nine players living there that they were moving in with newly hired coach Brad Snyder, formerly of Flin Flon, Manitoba. They packed their gear and moved that evening.
“We told them if they ever needed anything to call us and we would pick them up, no matter what time,” says Garnett.
The Muskoka Anglers are in their first season in the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League and sit 4th in the nine-team league with a 8-5-0-1 record. The team has players from Europe, the USA and Canada and they pay to play on the team. Players can pay anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 for a season, and that includes being billeted, meals and transportation.
Garnett was hired as head coach for the team in mid-September. He was the head coach of the Bracebridge Pioneers, a team that folded after one season earlier this year in the same league.
(An earlier version of this story did not have a complete version of events. We regret the omission.)