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.