The attempt to create the Canadian Hockey League Players Association has been derided by some for its ham-handed efforts in getting off the ground. Others praise it for trying to stand up for the youngsters playing there.
One thing that won’t help their cause is the possibility that one of their spokesmen has been convicted of fraud.
Joe Warmington of QMI Media reports CHLPA spokesman Derek Clarke is being investigated by Canadian hockey officials to figure out who exactly he is. TSN’s Dave Naylor reports (video) he’s spoken to two different people who have identified themselves as Clarke.
The man some believe him to be is former hockey coach and two-time fraud convict Randy Gumbley. Even CHLPA Executive Director Georges Laraque may not know who he is.
In an interview with TVA Sports reporter Stephane Gonzalez yesterday, Laraque in an on-camera interview identified a photograph of Gumbley as Derek Clarke. Then, in a subsequent interview denied the two were the same man.
That’s a bit embarrassing and, worse for the CHLPA, damning to their cause if it turns out a noted huckster like Gumbley is pulling the wool over their eyes.
To help add to the surreal nature of all this, the CHLPA says Clarke will be making an appearance on TSN today to show who he is. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t show up looking like this:
Georges Laraque’s made quite a bit of news and held a wide array of jobs since leaving the NHL, but now he embarks on a new fight as the executive director of the CHL’s players association.
He said it himself on Twitter:
Daniel Girard provides some context for the situation.
The 35-year-old native of Montreal, who was named deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada two years ago, is poised to become the face of a de facto union to protect the interests of more than 1,300 junior hockey players in the OHL, WHL and QMJHL.
A spokesperson for the association, which is yet to be certified, said earlier this week its priority is improving the educational packages available to junior hockey players, who get a $50-a-week stipend plus room and board.
Perhaps this means his NHL “comeback” is on hold?
After making a reputation as one of the most feared fighters of his era, former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque has flipped the script as a Green Party representative in retirement. One of his newest interests involved working with “greener” synthetic ice surfaces, but Giuseppe Valiante reports that his relationship with a business partner has gone cold.
Laraque and Marc Filion are reportedly preparing lawsuits against each other, with accusations of stealing from the company.
Naturally, these cases lend themselves to figure-pointing and accusations. Laraque claims that he first brought up fraud charges to Montreal police in April. Either way. he said that he’ll move on – whether he pursues “greener” ice further or not.
“Look, I don’t threaten people,” Laraque said. “I work on TV, I have restaurants, I’m a busy guy. I was only selling (the synthetic ice) part-time. There are so many other companies that sell the product; I’ll just join another one if I want to continue.”
Some might be surprised to see the former highly-paid pugilist turn the other cheek, but that’s just what he does these days.