Up in Canada, they take hockey seriously. Nobody should take hockey this seriously. The Mount Pearl Junior Blades, a junior hockey team in Canada, failed to show up for the opening ceremonies of a recent tournament. Since that is such an irresponsible move, Blades coach Brian Cranford has been given a one-year suspension and fined $2,000. The problem is Cranford had a very good reason for allowing his players to skip the ceremony.
“We had a good reason for not going,” he told CBC News. “We’re right in the middle of university exams. These are junior kids, they’re 18, 19, 20 years old. Because of our schedule, we had real issues trying to get a team iced for every game.”
Unless Cranford is lying and the league’s governing organization can prove it, this seems completely unacceptable. Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador president Jack Lee says the teams had to be there from start to finish for the tournament — no exceptions. You could argue that the players know what they’re getting themselves into when they try to juggle hockey and school and that they need to be able to fulfill their obligations to both, but we’re talking about studying over an opening ceremony.
Part of me thinks there has to be more to this story. Cranford appealed his suspension and fine and lost, but he has hired a lawyer and said he plans to take the matter to Hockey Canada. A full year for allowing students to study? Something doesn’t add up.
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