Justice for Shen

Shenny Smith has dreams of playing professional hockey someday and his dreams may not be that far out of reach – Shenny comes from an athletic family. His first cousin Brendan Bomberry plays for University of Syracuse. Shen’s other cousin Sid Smith is an award winning defenseman for the Rochester Nighthawks.

Just being from Six Nations and coming from the right family isn’t enough, so this tenacious 15-year-old has been making a name for himself in net as a skillful goaltender for the Brantford ‘99ers Midget “AA” Hockey Club.

He was having a definitive season until it was tragically cut short Wednesday, October 5 after Shenny was hospitalized after suffering a serious concussion.

Only, his family says that the concussion didn’t happen on the ice — they say that Shen was in the parking lot of the Activa Arena when he was assaulted by a player and a parent of the home team, Kitchener Rangers.

Police were called and mysteriously no charges were ever laid, despite eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a Kitchener father repeatedly assault the teenager. The Two Row Times will continue to investigate (see Pg. 19 for policing in Winnipeg).

In the meantime, the Smith family was left to pick up the pieces as their superstar was taken to McMaster Hospital where Shen was diagnosed with a concussion and treated. All his mom could do was take pictures of the cuts and abrasions and hope to find justice within the Canadian systems.

The Smith family says they have been traumatized not only by the violent actions of certain people from Kitchener but also by the inaction of the Waterloo regional police force.

Sadly we as indigenous people have much experience with this type of mistreatment. No matter how the particular events unfolded on October 5, we regularly receive story leads about altercations involving privileged parents acting badly at our minor hockey rinks.

This child abuse has to stop.

Nothing is as important as our children. In years past they were sy stematically beaten down in residential schools and although Shenny was not killed that night in Kitchener, someone tried to break Shenny’s spirit. Thankfully, it didn’t work.

The concussion clinic has since cleared Shen to play hockey again and there he was Monday night, standing in net, tough as nails. And guess who the ‘99ers were playing against? The Kitchener Rangers.

Although they lost the game 2 to 4, there was a victorious mood amongst Brantford parents and fans as they cheered to see their star goalie back on the ice. Shenny got a shut out during his period in net.

After the game tensions flared as eye witnesses singled out a group of Kitchener men in the Gretzky Centre bar who were allegedly involved in the attack. The assailant may be an assistant coach for Kitcheners AAA Jr team, according to the family.

Police intervened and dispersed the crowd, but the conclusion amongst Kitchener fans seemed obvious. A native kid may have suffered a concussion but police did not press charges so that means nothing happened.

If one of our full grown men repeatedly pummeled a 15-year-old Kitchener youth sending him to the hospital there would be cries for the death penalty from Canadians. If it wasn’t for our own media this news story would just be swept under the rug like the rest. Where is the justice for Shen?

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