Negative player awards not acceptable, say presidents

Nicholas Mercer
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Hockey NL president issues directive saying degrading behaviour will not be tolerated

Minor hockey presidents in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region are weighing in on a letter sent to associations early last week from Hockey NL president Jack Lee.

Placentia Intertown minor president Claudette Pittman.

In the letter, Lee wrote he had recently been notified about "various coaching staffs from around our province currently registered with Hockey NL who have awards in place for players that is very degrading to them."

Lee did not clarify what he meant by degrading awards or what associations were involved.

"These types of awards have a negative impact on the players and on the game of hockey," he wrote.

Now, presidents from Bay Arena minor in Bay Roberts, CeeBees minor in Harbour Grace and Placentia Intertown are giving their opinions on the controversial letter. Attempts were made to reach the president for Trinity Placentia minor (Eric Clarke), but they were unsuccessful.

Each were certain nothing of this sort was happening in their associations.

"If you are aware of this taking place within your association, please ensure you take the necessary action and ensure this is stopped. If it should continue, please be advised the coaching staff involved will be removed from their team immediately," Lee wrote.

Bay Arena minor president Scott Crosbie was taken aback when the letter popped into his email.

"There are two ways you can take this. There can be very degrading awards or there are things people do without realizing the impact it has on a person," he said. "With minor hockey, you think about principals. It's about having fun, it's about building kids up and building teams up.

"It's not about breaking things down. That's the wrong direction."

"Most times if a player shags up, they don't need to be told they shagged up. They know," added Claudette Pittman, president of Placentia Intertown.

Meanwhile, Wendy Penney, president for CeeBees minor, echoed similar sentiments.

"When you look at it, it's a form of bullying," she said. "If you don't stop it now, it's only going to get worse."

While it did not happen locally, Penney said there were instances around the province, but she did not elaborate.

"I guess Jack (Lee), as president of the Hockey NL, wanted to nip it in the bud," she said. "I was surprised to see that it needed the president of HNL to tell grown coaches that you can't do these certain awards."

At the professional ranks, you hear instances of teams handing out awards for the hardest working player, or player of the game. However, it is never a negative thing.

It is possible coaches could have taken this idea and had it backfire on them.

Either way, presidents agree it is something they would work to eliminate from their programs if a transgression of the sort was discovered.

"We would certainly address with the coach as an association that it wouldn't be tolerated," said Pittman.

Geographic location: Bay Arena, Bay Roberts

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