A controversy in a Winnipeg High School hockey league last week that resulted in two coaches being suspended has captured people’s attention. The Westwood Warriors were leading 3-2 against the Collège Jeanne-Sauvé Olympiens on Thursday when they decided to pull their goalie to allow the Olympiens to win.
Several games were being played at the same time and the coaches had learned that if they won, they’d have to face the Oak Park Raiders in the semifinals. The Raiders had the league’s best record in the regular season so they understandably wanted to avoid having to face them. They pulled their goalie and lost 4-3, setting up a rematch in the semis against College Jeanne-Sauve.
The controversial decision created a buzz around the area and sparked concern amongst league officials and fans. The players on the Warriors didn’t like losing on purpose and actually volunteered to play the Raiders on Friday in a play-in game that they lost 4-1 — eliminating themselves from the playoffs.
The choice to lose was met with widespread criticism because it goes against the ethics of the league and spirit of the game. In a poll on SI Hot Clicks, where I first learned about the story, 71% of voters said they didn’t like the move. I was one of the people in the minority who said they were fine with the decision.