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ONTARIO: Trainer suspended by OLA in wake of attack on referee

Referee in chief was 'found in the hallway (at Rotary Place) bloodied and with facial trauma' following incident; Provincial body expresses 'unified condemnation' of attack
new lax ref assault
Gord Brown, the referee in chief of the Boyd Balkwill Memorial Lacrosse Tournament, was attacked in a hallway by a team official from Innisfil during a game at Rotary Place Friday night.

ORILLIA - The Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) has suspended Dwayne Palomaki, who was charged with assault after attacking an official at a lacrosse game in Orillia Friday night.

Palomaki was serving as a trainer for the visiting Innisfil midget team during a game at the Boyd Balkwill Memorial Tournament at Rotary Place, when the incident occurred.

According to Shane Hubbard, special advisor for the Ontario Lacrosse Officials Association (OLOA), Palomaki had been given a game misconduct for verbally berating the on-floor officials and was removed from the game Friday night.

Gord Brown, the referee in chief, went to ensure Palomaki had "left the building or nothing untoward was happening with the players” and that's when the alleged assault happened, said Hubbard.

“Brown was found in the hallway, bloodied and with facial trauma," said Hubbard.

Hubbard said the association has had "problems" with Palomaki in the past.

"When we say problems, it's never been of this (physical) nature. But he's definitely been warned for other transgressions," said Hubbard.

In a statement released Sunday, OLA president Marion Ladouceur, said Palomaki had been suspended.

Jennifer Matheson, the vice president of box lacrosse for the OLA, immediately suspended the membership of Palomaki, “effectively barring him from OLA-sanctioned events," says the statement.

“Going forward, additional sanctions and support will be discussed and implemented in accordance with the authority of the OLA’s board of directors to display our unified condemnation of this egregious situation.”

The statement says such abuse or behaviour “may result in sanctions against clubs including mandated on-site security, forfeiture of performance bonds, fines, suspensions, termination of membership as well as any civil or criminal liability when appropriate.”

Ladouceur, in her statement, said the OLA is “fully committed to cooperating with law enforcement” during the investigation, noting because criminal charges have been filed, “It would be inappropriate” to comment further.

The statement from Ladouceur also noted OLA officials were dispatched to Orillia Saturday to provide support and to help ensure the tournament continued. It concluded, on schedule, Sunday.

Gord Brown went to Facebook Saturday to express his appreciation for the support in the wake of the incident.

”I cannot thank everyone enough for the incredible support you have all been. I will be seeing an eye specialist today and I hope that all goes well. As much as I’d like to finish the tournament, my family and I decided it was better for me to go home and rest. The texts from family, friends and fellow refs, the messages of support from the amazing lacrosse community that I am a part of in Canada and the U.S. have been truly inspiring. Thank you!!”

Dwayne Palomaki, 47, has been charged with assault causing bodily harm as a result of Friday night's incident. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 23.