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Man Dies After Hockey Dispute

July 7, 2000

READING, Mass. (AP) _ A disagreement over rough play in a youth hockey game erupted into a fistfight between two fathers, and one of the men died from injuries he suffered in the brawl.

Police said Michael Costin, 40, and Thomas Junta, 42, fought at an ice rink in Reading on Wednesday afternoon in front of their sons and other children, who are all around 10 years old.

Costin, a single father of four, was knocked unconscious and was pronounced dead Thursday.

Junta had already been facing charges of assault and battery. Reading police had no comment Friday morning on whether he would face new charges.

``We are still in the investigative stage,″ said Lt. Detective Kevin Patterson.

There was no listed telephone number for Junta in Reading.

Police said the pickup hockey game was supposed to be non-contact, but adults got agitated when play on the ice got rough. Patterson said Costin’s and Junta’s sons may have been involved.

``Somebody may have struck or run into somebody on the ice,″ Patterson said.

The two men argued, then fought after the game, police said.

Jane Fiore, director of the health department in this town of around 23,000 located 15 miles north of Boston, said counselors, clergy, and others would be available Saturday at one of the town middle schools to help parents or children traumatized by the incident.

``I think people are just horrified by it,″ said Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner. ``It’s just a horrible situation.″

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