Monday, November 19, 2007

More Kamloops minor hockey

From The Daily News of Monday, Nov. 19, 2007 . . .

If you have access to e-mail, you likely are aware that the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association (KMHA) continued its ill-conceived attempt to paint Ladd Maloski as Dr. Evil over the weekend.

It wasn’t good enough for the KMHA to post its reasons (?) for whacking a whistleblower on its website; it also had to undertake a massive e-mailing to all of its members. That e-mail spread through the Internet quicker than a Prairie wildfire.

To recap, it was Maloski and his wife, Monica, who blew the whistle on an Oct. 20 party held by the midget AAA North Kamloops Lions in the home of KMHA president Stan Burton. One of the players, who was in the care of the Maloskis at the time, ended up in hospital and was on the verge of alcohol poisoning. The KMHA acted quickly to wash its hands of the situation, announcing that this was not a function sanctioned by the association, so therefore nothing would be done about it.

The KMHA president wasn’t disciplined, nor were any of the team members; in fact, the team is leaving this week for a tournament in Littleton, Colo. Never mind that they all should have signed B.C. Hockey fair play contracts that include a clause on zero tolerance involving alcohol and drugs. (Where is B.C. Hockey in all of this? To date, it has shown only its true colours – invisible.)

The Maloskis, convinced that the incident was being swept under the carpet – gee, you think? – went to the media.

They have since appeared before a KMHA kangar, err, discipline committee where Ladd lost out in a game of whack a mole.

The e-mailing operation targeted every parent in the association and had a bigger reach than that. The first of many copies that ended up in this computer came from Prince George.

It featured five documents:

1. An Oct. 2 letter to Ladd Maloski dealing with a Team Official Review Committee meeting.

2. A letter to Maloski outlining disciplinary measures reached by the discipline committee over the whistle-blowing incident.

3. A B.C. College of Teachers Discipline Committee summary dealing with Maloski from Dec. 5, 2005, which should have absolutely no bearing on this incident; this document stems from a completely unrelated incident and is readily available on the Internet. The fact that the KMHA executive would send this document to all of its members tells you all you need to know about its arrogant and atrocious behaviour and the abhorrent fashion in which it has treated the Maloskis.

4. A post-discipline committee meeting letter to Monica Maloski, stating: “The Committee does recognize that this is your first appearance before us, and therefore no further disciplinary action will be taken.” Hilariously, the letter then goes on to list the appeal procedures.

5. A lengthy explanation – it was posted on the KMHA’s website – detailing the discipline committee’s reasons for whacking Ladd Maloski.

If you haven’t seen any of these KMHA documents, just wait – they are sure to end up in your Inbox. You will find them to be about as credible as the letter from Nigeria offering you a cut of a gazillion dollars.

What the KMHA executive unwittingly did with this project was provide proof of what a witch hunt this fiasco has become.

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The massive e-mailing did bring at least one reaction, this from someone who has remembered that, before the KMHA executive began muddying the water, this whole thing began with a party in the home of the KMHA president.

“If you think that parents in KMHA with younger children view the fact that the president of our organization would allow binge drinking in his home by members of a KMHA team with anything other than horror you would be wrong, regardless of whether the actions of the Maloskis were wrong from an organizational standpoint,” wrote the parent of a young player in response.

“If you wish to talk about the dangers of various levels of alcohol intoxication I would advise you to get some proper medical advice: you are confusing units used in the hospital (mmol/litre) with those commonly used by the police (mg%) and are forgetting to calculate the maximum alcohol level when the player stopped drinking which would be much more reflective of his actual risk.”

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And now the backlash from this scandal has started.

The general manager of a local business has written to The Daily News to say that he no longer will be “authorizing any future auction prizes or program ads. As a . . . facility utilized by people under the age of 19 we do not need to be seen as supporting a group that encourages underage drinking.”

Meanwhile, Ian Shaw-MacLaren, the owner/manager of Brock Auto, has pulled advertising from The Daily News.

Sent the proof of an ad that was to appear on a page dedicated to minor hockey, Shaw-MacLaren wrote back: "I will not be joining in the advertising for this year. I am very disappointed in the way your sports reporter handled the KMHA incident this past couple of weeks. I think I need to support (sic) a paper who can do nothing but slam the KMHA board for what is done by a lot of volunteer time and dedication.”

Shaw-MacLaren is the KMHA treasurer; he also has a son who plays on the midget AAA team that partied in the home of the KMHA president.

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The stench from this scandal also has reached Prince George.

Here’s part of what sports editor Jim Swanson wrote in the Prince George Citizen:

The KMHA was more upset about media awareness than it was of a child nearly dying.

“The KMHA president? He still has the job. And his vice-president seems far more concerned somehow that the media coverage could have cost KMHA sponsorships. Where is the concern for the teen who nearly died?

“No wonder so many Kamloops minor hockey parents wouldnt come forward, unless under a shroud of anonymity, fearing repercussions. Theres your proof, and it follows other proof that the KMHA board condones, and even encourages, underage drinking. Would you entrust your child to an organization like that? Even in Prince George, where we have a reputation for being a little rough around the edges, a minor hockey president and his key supporters on the board would be lynched for holding such a party, and rightly so.

“I guess Kamloops has taken our redneck rep away from us, eh?”

Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. He is at gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca.

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