WATCH: West Island hockey coach suspended for push-up punishment speaks out
The Lac St-Louis Lions minor hockey coach suspended for ordering his young players to do push-ups after they lost spoke out for the first time today.
Louis Isabella said in an exclusive interview with TSN690 and Tony Marinaro that he's been silent since the Sept. 18 game with his Pee Wee Triple A team because he had to wait until the league investigated and the disciplinary committee handed down a ruling. Isabella was suspended for the rest of the season October 14. Isabella said he's never been disciplined in his 20 years of coaching.
"The only regret I have is that some kids got hurt. It was never intended for anybody to get hurt," said Isabella.
Isabella defended his actions, saying he ordered those pushups not because they lost but because he didn't like the bickering and lack of teamwork by his players during the game. Isabella said the pushup system is always there and that other coaches do it.
"It's a form that's been used forever. When I played minor hockey, we used to do pushups. I didn't see anything wrong with doing pushups. It was brought to me when I played and I just brought those tools with me," said Isabella.
Isabella said neither players nor parents complained to him about those push ups, claiming he made them do about 60-100 pushups, not 300 as reported. Isabella said he gave the players breaks between sets of 10 pushups during a 15-20 minute period. Reports say some kids were hurt and suffered injuries but Isabella said he wasn't told about that either. Isabella said he may adjust his methods, such as making the players do the pushups a day after a game.
Isabella said it's possible he is being made a scapegoat for something that other coaches do.
"You have to talk to the other levels. There's other people ahead of the Lions. Maybe they're the ones you should be talking to. I can't make those decisions for them but maybe they're trying to make a point," said Isabella after his interview on TSN690.
"I'm not the first one, I won't be the last one, I think. It's always within reason of the age group that you allow these pushups to happen. We're not there to hurt players, we're there to encourage them and teach them things."
Isabella said he doesn't know yet if he'll contest the suspension. He said he's had no firm talks about coaching anywhere next season, including with the Lions. For now, Isabella said he'll take a break, adding "it gives a little more time for my family to be around."