Sportsmanship is a tough lesson that is constantly taught to young athletes across the globe.
A minor hockey player in Melfort showed great maturity on the ice at a recent game.
Twelve-year-old Sage Roberts and his Melfort Peewee AA Mustangs team were playing in an ordinary game against the Saskatoon Thunder last weekend.
In the second period of a 1-0 Melfort lead, a scrum took place in front of the Thunder goal. Referees couldn’t clearly see the play, though it looked like the puck bounced off the post and into the net.
Officials met after the whistle and determined the puck crossed the line and called it a good goal.
That’s when Roberts sprang into action.
While the Saskatoon bench was getting an explanation of the goal, Roberts approached coach Randy Kerr and explained the puck did not cross the line and that it was an unfair call.
“We lined up for the faceoff, but the young man, Sage Roberts, skated up to me and said, ‘Randy, I was right there. (The puck) didn’t cross the line,” Kerr said, adding the officials were shocked by his honesty.
“The ref kind of looked at me funny and said, ‘Are you serious?’”
The goal — which would have extended Roberts’ goal-scoring streak — was waved off.
Melfort ended up winning the hard-fought game 3-2.
Roberts was the team’s unanimous decision for the player of the game award.
After the game, Saskatoon Thunder head coach Randy Smith approached the Melfort dressing room and congratulated the team for rallying around Roberts and coming forward with the right call.
“It’s one thing for a young player to conduct himself that way, it’s a whole other thing when the receiving team acknowledges it,” Kerr said. “To me, it was equally impressive the incredible sportsmanship that Randy Smith showed to our team.”
In an era fraught with stories of cut-throat hockey players and parents doing anything possible to get noticed, Roberts would rather be remembered for his incredible act of sportsmanship.
“Everybody professes, we put kids in sports to learn the intangibles — the dedication, perseverance, commitment and sportsmanship,” Kerr said.