Arrest for fight with coach ended bad day for hockey dad - The Buffalo News

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Arrest for fight with coach ended bad day for hockey dad

Jan. 4 was a bad day for Michael P. Schaefer.

That Saturday started with a funeral for his best friend and ended with the South Buffalo hockey dad’s arrest on an assault charge, accused of attacking his son’s coach after the boy was pulled from the game.

Schaefer, 48, told police he was upset about Scott Diebold, coach of the prep team at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, bullying his son, a junior who was playing goalie that night during a weekend tournament at Leisure Rinks in Orchard Park.

In the police report, the officer said he was called to the rink on Weiss Avenue at 9:51 p.m. to check on 911 calls about a fight there.

When he arrived, he said he talked to Diebold, who had benched Schaefer’s son in the second period, prompting Schaefer to confront Diebold after the game.

The officer said Schaefer ran up to the coach near the ice, grabbed him by the left arm and pushed him into the glass, cutting his cheek and causing bleeding. He said Schaefer continued pulling Diebold’s arm, dislocating his shoulder as Schaefer threw him to the floor. Schaefer continued pushing the coach’s body into the floor, injuring his biceps, collarbone and fingers. Bystanders broke up the fight.

The officer said Diebold pointed out Schaefer to him. He was standing outside the rink smoking a cigarette. When the officer approached Schaefer, he appeared visibly intoxicated.

When he asked Schaefer what had happened, he said the hockey dad told him that he had messed up.

“The coach has been bullying my son,” the officer said Schaefer told him. “I was mad about something that happened in the game so I lost my temper and I attacked him.”

He said Schaefer also told him that he had had an emotional day because he lost his best friend and the funeral was held that morning.

When the officer told him he was going to be arrested, he said Schaefer told him that he understood, and the officer took him into custody without incident. Schaefer was released on an appearance ticket.

He is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Orchard Park Town Court.

The officer said Diebold suffered a dislocated shoulder and was taken by ambulance to Mercy Ambulatory Care Center where he was treated and discharged.

Diebold, who started coaching the prep team this season after serving as an assistant for seven seasons, and Steve Otremba, the school’s athletic director, declined to comment.

Jason C. Henskee, Schaefer’s attorney, said his client has entered a plea of not guilty.

“At the appropriate time, we will be glad to tell our side of the story to the media,” he said.

“We are in the process of investigating and don’t want to prejudice the case,” he added, declining to comment further.

Paul Grundtisch, manager of Leisure Rinks, said the Jan. 4 incident was the first of its kind in his 30 years as manager. He called it an unfortunate, isolated incident, not the norm.

He admitted that confrontations between parents and coaches do happen at times.

“But in most cases, parents police themselves and calm down,” he said.

“Rarely do we see incidents where we have to step in and break things up.”

He added that 99 percent of parents are “just good hockey fans.”


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