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Milbury sought in Pee Wee altercation

MIKE MILBURY Magistrate awaits MIKE MILBURY Magistrate awaits
By Shira Springer and Martin Finucane
Globe Staff / December 17, 2011
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Former Bruins player and coach Mike Milbury may face charges for allegedly grabbing and shaking a 12-year-old boy after a Pee Wee hockey game, according to Brookline police. The incident occurred Dec. 9 after an exhibition game between the Boston Jr. Blackhawks and the Boch Blazers at Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink in Larz Anderson Park.

Milbury is an assistant coach with the Blazers and his son, Jake, plays on the team.

When an altercation between the 12-year-old alleged victim and Jake Milbury escalated at the outdoor rink, Mike Milbury was among those who stepped into the fray.

As to what happened next, a parent reported the incident Dec. 10 and Brookline police conducted an investigation. Based on what was learned, the police are seeking charges against Mike Milbury, 59, for assault and battery on a child, threatening to commit a crime, and disorderly conduct.

Milbury will be summonsed for a hearing before a clerk magistrate at Brookline District Court. The magistrate will determine whether there is probable cause for the charges to go forward.

“Mike Milbury denies any allegations that there was an assault of any kind,’’ said Daniel Rabinovitz, Milbury’s attorney, in a statement. “He simply intervened in an altercation between his son and an opposing player. No one was struck, no one was injured, and no one was threatened.’’

Milbury will take time off from his NHL analyst job with NBC and Versus as he goes through the legal process.

The clerk magistrate will have to consider two versions of the incident.

In the version of events offered by the mother of 12-year-old alleged victim as reported by WBZ-TV, Milbury “committed a crime’’ and “needs to be reprimanded.’’ She called Milbury’s actions as “horrific’’ and said he “picked up my son by the shirt, shook him, and was screaming and swearing at him . . . You can’t put your hands on a child.’’

In the version offered by Milbury defenders, the former Bruin intervened on behalf of his son, making sure a tense situation did not escalate. Ernie Boch Jr., team sponsor of the Boch Blazers and CEO of Boch Enterprises, said what he knew of the alleged incident seemed “completely out of character’’ for Milbury.

When Paul Cokinos, owner of the Boch Blazers, heard about the incident, he contacted Jack Hauswirth, the head coach of the Pee Wee team, and asked what happened. Cokinos was told that the game went off as planned as a mini Winter Classic and the teams stayed at the rink for pizza after playing.

After eating, the Blackhawks and Blazers lined up to participate in a shootout with opposing players interspersed in a line at center ice. At that point, the alleged victim threw Jake Milbury onto the ice. The coaches rushed onto the playing surface to get matters under control.

“My understanding was that Mike picked the boy up and said, ‘What did you say to my son?’ and that was it,’’ said Cokinos. “So, it was an incident where I think everybody was trying to help out and get kids out of the way because there was a scrum going on. I think it spilled over from the game because this one boy I heard was antagonizing Mike’s son during the game. Mike asked the other coach several times to please have him stop and nothing was done. So, I think it spilled over to this.

“But I heard the teams stayed there, skated around, and everything went on as normal. If it was a bad, bad situation, everyone would have left, but they didn’t.’’

Boch and Cokinos have no plans to remove Milbury from his position as an assistant coach or from his duties as director of coaching.

“We take the allegations seriously,’’ said Boch. “Our No. 1 concern is the safety of the kids. But with that said, Mike is a great guy. He has always been a fantastic coach. He puts himself second to the kids. The kids love him. He’s a great coach.’’

Added Cokinos: “He’s the biggest proponent of not yelling, not aggravating kids when they are in the program. He’s mild. Usually, you see some of these NHL guys come and coach afterwards and they’re over the edge. He’s the opposite. I think this is blown out of proportion.’’

Given what happened during Milbury’s playing career, Cokinos noted that people might not expect him to be mild. In 1979 at Madison Square Garden, Milbury infamously beat a Rangers fan with a shoe during arguably the most bizarre brawl in NHL history.

Brookline police captain Thomas Keaveney said that with four children that have played sports, it doesn’t surprise him to receive reports a former professional hockey player getting involved in an alleged assault.

“I’ve seen a lot of irresponsible things done by adults and Mike Milbury is no different in my mind,’’ said Keaveney. “Now, again, these are just allegations that he committed this.’’

Globe correspondent Brock Parker contributed to this report. Shira Springer can be reached at springer@globe.com.

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