Hockey refs, parents headed to mediation over post-game fight in Howell
Parents and referees involved in an alleged post-hockey-game fight in early February will have a chance to resolve their dispute during a mediation session on Monday.
A Howell judge ordered the case to mediation, rather than court — a move that lawyers say is typical among cases involving civilians and no police charges.
"We'll go in and sit down with the mediator, and if we can't seem to work things out, that's the end of it and then it's referred back to court," attorney Richard Lomurro, who represents referee Dave Brown in the case, said.
Brown and fellow ref Sal Bianco allege two parents came into their locker room and physically assaulted them following a Manalapan-Howell match on Feb. 7 at Howell Ice World.
The parents, who have also filed simple assault charges in the matter, deny any attack on the referees and claim Brown was using obscene language toward players and a mother during the game.
"Right now my name, my reputation, is slandered for reasons that are way beyond my control," said Brown, who is opposed to the route of mediation in this case, but says he'll enter on Monday with an open mind.
"I just want to make sure that moving forward, nothing like this ever happens again," he said. "It happens all too often and it has to end."
Brown has not officiated a game since the incident.
Attorney Mitchell Ansell, who represents parent Anthony Gallicchio, said his client is looking forward to reaching a solution through mediation.
"The difference with mediation is that it results in an amicable resolution as opposed to being an adversarial proceeding in a court of law," Ansell said.
Howell police, in a written statement issued in February, said the alleged offense would have been a simple assault — which “in New Jersey is classified as a ‘disorderly persons offense,’ therefore, it does not rise to a level of severity in which a police officer can make an arrest without having actually witnessed the offense take place.”