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Junior coach fined, suspended after players miss ceremony…for university exams

Jun 11, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT

Mt Pearl

Brian Cranford has been a volunteer coach with Mount Pearl — a Canadian Junior B team in Newfoundland — for the last 20 years.

Nobody will blame him if he doesn’t come back for another.

On May 23, Cranford received a letter from Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador stating he’d been suspended for all of next season, and fined $2,000, after Mount Pearl players skipped the opening ceremony of the Don Johnson Cup tournament (so named after a local hockey icon, not Crockett from Miami Vice.)

The kicker, of course, was that Cranford OKed his players skipping the ceremony…because they were in the middle of university exams.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous in my opinion and heavy-handed,” Cranford told Torstar News. “These are kids who put their education first.”

From here, the debate consisted of:

— Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador’s explanation (they wanted “at least a representative of the team” at the event.)

— Cranford flabbergasted at the decision-making process (“Where is my due process here?” he said.)

— Grey area surrounding the ceremony attendance rule (in that there doesn’t appear to be a rule.)

Anyway, the sad postscript to this story is it cost Cranford and the team another $650 just to appeal the decision, which has been rejected at the association level.

The appeal has since been submitted to Hockey Canada for review.

(Photo courtesy Mt. Pearl Junior Blades and Colin Peddle Photography.)

  1. hockeyflow33 - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    This will definitely help keep volunteers in the league

  2. t16rich - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Screw off Newfoundland Hockey. These kids and their families pay for an education. They take time out of their lives to juggle school and play in your Jr. B league. Now that this power drunk message has been sent, get ready for Hockey Canada to set this straight. Anything but the fine being rescinded is a crime against Junior hockey in general.

  3. Jeff Thomas - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I can see the league’s point of view. If the coach wants to help these kids he can start with teaching them proper time management. Thousands of people juggle school and work everyday. If this was a mandatory ceremony then there was time to study before and after.

    • stakex - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      First of all, if you actually read the whole story you would see that there does not appear to be any rule that says this was a mandatory function.

      Second, who knows if its simply a matter of sudying before/after the event? Perhaps they had to travel to it, which would have made it impossible for the kids to take their exams? Perhaps it actually took place during some of the exams? Theres simply not enought facts in the story to say that the kids could have went to the function and still taken their exams.

      Your point though, shows a huge problem with sports these days. The vast majority, in fact probably all, of these kids are not going to make the NHL. That means school for them is a number one priority, since hockey is nothing more then a game that will never put food on their table or buy them a home. Yet when they do put school first, people such as yourself (and Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador of course) seem to think thats a BAD thing. Get your priorities strait…. like these kids do. They are light years ahead of you.

  4. Brian - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Utterly ridiculous. The man’s been a VOLUNTEER coach for 20 years and its not like the kids on his team are professionals. This is an invitational tournament. That means optional in my books. Hard to see how the association can justify this if mandatory representation at these silly ceremonies isn’t written down somewhere. Hockey Canada better strike this down, because it sure won’t stand up to a federal court challenge, and Cranford is getting enough publicity that he could raise enough funds from people sick of power-hungry provincial associations to take it there.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      As the cop said at the end of Chinatown: Forget it Jake, it’s Newfoundland.

  5. egodz51 - Jun 11, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    The worst part is it isn’t even a Jr. A team…

  6. paperkid96 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Jeff Thomas. Congratulations! You are the first post I have seen that hasn’t received a single positive review. That is awesome!

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