Bench Clearing Brawl at Mennonite Church Hockey Tournament

STEINBACH, MB

A massive bench-clearing brawl involving more than twenty players, four coaches, and dozens of spectators broke out at the annual MBEM hockey tournament this weekend. The brawl was reportedly triggered after it was discovered the team from East Blumenhof church was using a ringer from West Gutenthal.

“You can’t play for the East Blumenhof Cracklings unless you’re a baptized member of the East Blumenhof church!” yelled rival Rosenschlep player Dwightie Neufeld. “I know for a fact your goalie hasn’t set foot in East Blumenhof since the early 90s!”

Questioning the goaltender’s standing in the church was a veritable crime and East Blumenhofers were eager to defend their net-minder.

“I won’t have anyone talking about my second cousin Abe like that!” said East Blumenhof captain Petey Pankratz. “Just because he’s back-slidden a little doesn’t mean he’s unqualified to play in the MBEM tournament!”

What initially began as just strong words between the benches, soon escalated to scripture-quoting, with each side lobbing verses at each other from across the rink.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body! Ephesians 4:25!!!” yelled Dwightie.

“Yeah, well, ‘Those who call themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight reign on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless!’ That’s James 1 verse 26!” retorted Petey.

The verses were taken as “fightin’ words” and soon the benches were cleared, resulting in the ejection of the entire East Blumenhof team and leaving Rosenschlep with just the equipment manager.

“This happens every year at the MBEM Cup,” said church moderator Delbert Fehr. “The Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach always asks me to notify them a few weeks before the tournament so the emergency room can be prepared and adequately staffed.”

The incident was the worst outbreak of violence at the tournament since a member of the North Steinlich team tried to get his cousin and Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer to play net a few years back. The rival churches plan to get together for their annual Christmas hymn sing later this month.