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Potsdam man charged with harassment over alleged hockey incident in which boy sprayed girls with ice chips

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POTSDAM — A Potsdam man who walked on the ice during a youth hockey practice for beginners and yelled at and kicked the skates of a 10-year-old boy was reportedly upset that the child had sprayed two young girls - one of whom was the 10-year-old’s sister - with ice chips when he stopped next to them.

Village police charged Christopher J. Martin, 40, of Potsdam with second-degree harassment Saturday morning following an investigation into an incident that reportedly took place Nov. 23 at a youth hockey practice at Pine Street Arena.

Police allege Martin, who was a spectator at that practice session, walked onto the ice, grabbed a 10-year-old child that was not related to him, spoke to the child in a raised voice and then kicked that child’s skate.

Tracy L. Hoose, Colton, in a statement she provided police, said her five-year-old daughter was at beginniner’s hockey practice and her 10-year-old son went to help as an instructor.

She said she was sitting in the bleachers near the end of the practice when she saw a man, later identified as Martin, walk about 15 feet onto the ice and grab her son by both arms. “I don’t know who this person was. He started yelling at (her son) very loudly. I would describe it as screaming,” she noted in her statement to police.

Ms. Hoose she started moving toward the door onto the ice surface after witnessing the confrontation. “I kept watching him in disbelief. Before I was able to get off the last bleacher, I saw the man kick Aiden’s skate. He kicked it with a lot of force and appeared very angry,” she told police.

She said her son skated away from Martin, and the adult started to walk off the ice. She said she met him at the door to the ice surface and confronted him about his actions.

“I was teary eyed because I was upset about what had happened. The guy told me (my son) had just sprayed the little girls that were standing in the doorway. He pointed to two girls. One of the girls he pointed to was my daughter. The other girl was a friend of my daughter’s who is also in my daycare,” Ms. Hoose noted in her statement.

“The guy was still upset and was saying the skates are weapons and that if my son slipped and fell when he sprayed them the girls could have ended up in the hospital,” she added.

Ms. Hoose said Martin started to walk away from her, and she followed him and the discussion turned to appropriate interactions between children and adults. “I told him you can’t grab and kick kids. He said something to the effect of ‘So you just let your kids do whatever they want.’ I told him no that’s not what we do but we handle ourselves very differently than this. I told him he doesn’t have the right to put his hands on my kids and you have to handle it uncertain way, and he responded without looking at me that he didn’t disagree with anything I had said,” Ms. Hoose said in her statement.

She noted she exchanged first names with he man, shook hands with him, told him she was sorry it had come to them and then walked away from him.

Ms. Hoose said she had discussed the situation with her son, and he said he had sprayed the girls just a little bit but he was just trying to stop quickly in front of them and not much ice got on them.

She said she and her husband started asking around, learned Martin’s identity and verified his identification on the Clarkson University website.

The Clarkson website identifies Martin as an instructor in mathematics and computer science.

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