, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 6, 2008

Father charged in hockey game incident

NEWBURYPORT — The father of Gloucester High School's star hockey player faces charges after he allegedly "cuffed" a Newburyport middle-schooler during Saturday's game against Newburyport. The father had been thrown out of Graf Rink by a referee moments before he struck the boy, police said.

According to police, David Fanning, 48, 49 Bennett St., Gloucester, has been summonsed to court on charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

"He cuffed (the youth) upside the head with an open hand," Lt. Mark Murray said.

Reached yesterday, Fanning said he wasn't aware of the charges, but he did not want to comment on the incident. The summons, which will be mailed, wasn't issued until yesterday because Newburyport police Officer Shawn Eaton had yet to complete his report.

The incident stemmed from a penalty call during the game on Fanning's son, Jeremy, a senior forward who is the Gloucester High team's leading scorer.

In a physical game marred by 13 penalties, frustrations spilled over in the second period when Newburyport erased a 2-0 Gloucester lead with its third straight goal. Minutes later, Jeremy Fanning was called for an interference penalty.

Jeremy Fanning was sent to the penalty box and then given a game misconduct and automatic ejection from the game after he threw his stick on the ice. He could also be heard yelling at the referee, complaining about the call.

David Fanning then made a comment to an official and was ejected himself, Murray said.

When the two were leaving the rink, David Fanning reportedly struck a boy who was holding the door, Murray said, and got into a shouting match with another adult in the lobby.

A Newburyport officer was on a standard detail duty at the game, but it is not known how the incident was reported to police.

The Gloucester hockey team, which has a large, loyal fan base in that city, brought a large fan contingent to the game. Newburyport went on to pull off the upset, handing the Fishermen only their second loss in 14 games. Jeremy Fanning is one of the best players in the region with 15 goals, or about one per game.

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