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COMMENTARY · 3rd March 2013
Merv Ritchie
Update: Follow up story Click Here.

Do you ever remember, as a kid, watching your mom or dad doing something really embarrassing but you had to go along with it, shrugging your shoulders as your friends looked on? Well the young minor hockey players in Smithers are likely going to the Provincials having to embarrassingly face all the other teams knowing their parents made them go, that they shouldn’t be there.

In a tournament in Smithers two weekends back Terrace beat Smithers in overtime. It was an exciting game and everyone was pumped. All the players shook hands in good sportsman like conduct and the Smithers players wished the Terrace players good luck in the Provincials.

That was until Love got in the way. Some parents just love hockey, and their local teams success, too much.

At the tournament in Smithers, Terrace had a player who should not have been on the ice during an earlier game against Kitimat. Terrace won by a huge margin, 10 to 1. The Hockey officials were made aware of the ‘illegal’ player and the game was challenged. BC Hockey District Representatives, Chantel Tom, Bob Story and Darrel Lerum consulted BC Hockey and came up with the ruling, suspend the coach and the Terrace player for a game, replay the Kitimat game and move forward. The decision was rendered and the game was ordered to be replayed with both the coach and the player benched.

Terrace won again by a similar margin, 9 to 2.

So all was good and the final game was held, Terrace vs Smithers. It was 2 to 2 at the end of regular time. Six minutes into the first overtime Terrace scored.

Left alone, the kids are remarkable. Click here.

It would appear as if there is significant bad blood between Terrace and Smithers parents when it comes to Hockey. It could be put down to Terrace winning Hockeyville after Smithers tried twice, but it likely goes back much farther. Reading the hockey forums reveals attitudes and language a respectful parent would likely discipline their children if they behaved or spoke like that.

After the minor hockey players took off their skates and were prepared to get on with the future, the parents in Smithers had another idea, appeal the first decision regarding the Kitimat games. So they asked the Provincial officials to make a ruling against the replaying of the Kitimat game.

Here is where it gets a little fuzzy. Someone made a decision. The local District Director Lerum has not returned our emails or phone calls, but this could be due to his being away on travels. We have emailed the two other representatives involved in the local decision making process, Bob Storey and Chantal Tom as well as the Executive Director of BC Hockey, Barry Petrachenko.

None have responded to confirm what has transpired.

What we have been told is the Provincial body did not want to get involved in this small town pissing match and referred the decision back to the locals, hence our calls and emails to the District Director who is not available, and emails to Tom and Storey.

Yet a decision was apparently rendered today, Sunday March 3, to make the entire Kitimat game invalid. This decision must have been made by Bob Storey and Chantal Tom. But it appears Bobby Love, a Smithers representative, was the instigator of the challenges and controversy.

Minor Hockey already has a bad name due to the one coach who was sent to jail for his attack on the opposing winning team. Is this any different?

The problem is a complicated one for all players, all parents, and all teams. Kitimat must play Smithers tomorrow as time is running out. Terrace parents have already booked rooms and flights and now this all has to be reconsidered.

The Provincial Tournament is the Midget Tier 3 in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, March 17th to 22nd.

Our kids need guidance. They need role models and examples to be exemplary adults themselves. The games were enjoyed by the kids, it was the parents who interfered with the process. It wasn’t as if the procedures were not followed. The Kitimat players and the Terrace team accepted the terms and the result. Kitimat actually got a second chance to redeem themselves.

But someone in Smithers figured out a way to demonstrate to the kids how anyone can manipulate the process, that fairness and good character are not the primary things we need to learn. Look for a loophole.

Personally I feel sorry for the Smithers players. They are going to have to face all the other Midget teams in Port Alberni knowing full well they didn’t get there fair and square.
Comment by I hurt for the kids on 8th March 2013
Actually, they are all great teams and great kids, and NONE of them deserve to have been put through this! It is a disgrace!
Comment by Hockey Parent on 7th March 2013
It all starts with poor ethics. Poor ethics on the part of the coach and parents of the youth who was not supposed to play in the Terrace/Kitimat game to begin with. unfortunately it snowballs from there. I don't know if the right decision was made or if the right and deserving teams are playing the final game but I do know that this is not fair to any of the kids. Calling down one team for appealing, another for losing twice and emphasizing the scale of their loss, it's just not right. Poor ethics all around! Whoever wins this game now will go on to Provincials with these comments hanging over their heads. Speaking of how all the other teams there will know they are undeserving of their place in the provincials, slamming them for decisions they did not make themselves. They are bonded teams at this age and very competitive. Had it been another team who had done wrong I don't think a Terrace parent would hesitate to call someone on it. Be real, they'll get over it. Whoever wins this game and goes to Provincials represents our Zone, be proud of that! All this bantering just escalates the players. Is this good for them?! No! It's parents/adults who act this way that push the kids to have bad ethics. It is what it is.......Let it be and try to be happy for the kids. Don't beat these kids (whichever team) down before they even get to Provincials, let them enjoy the experience as this is not "their" fault. We have watched all teams play numerous times, they are all great teams and all are deserving of this experience.
looks like...
Comment by Steve Smyth on 5th March 2013
Smithers couldnt handle losing on the ice so they had to go in the back door using slimy adult tactics....jeez, where's the teaching here Smithers coaches and executive? what are we teaching kids here? If you lose, you just get better legal help?
Give your heads a shake, youve made a mockery of most of what is good about kids team sports.

Colour me disgusted, but like Lynne, not surprised.
Comment by Parent, on 5th March 2013
One of the problems with this whole issue is the officials who are suppose to look after the Tournamnets, Games, Players, Ref's and Parents are still spinning a web... a WEB of LIES.

The whole issue is still around the vindictive nature and lies about how the who days of events transpired.

Fact: Player was kicked out of game for checking which had head contact.

Fact: Nothing on the game sheet that the player must miss next game( Terrace Coaches responsability to know rule)

Fact: Smithers parent/manager new that the player was going to play the next game, new this was not allowed and said nothing

Fact: Smithers manager waited for the game to start before informing anyone about the rule

Fact:During the 1 st period break zone supervisor went and told Kitimat coach that Terrace team had a suspended player and gave them all the information needed for a appeal

Fact: only then was the Terrace team advised of this problem and told that they should know the rules, the player in question changed out of his gear.

Fact: The zone supervisor was in fact supposed to review the game sheets to ensure no violation were taking place(obviously this was not done) and let the team/coaches know of any problem

Fact: The Smithers manager who filed the appeal was in the room helping the zone supervisor with all the paper work when Terrace was there submitting their own paper work. And in fact when Terrace Officials asked for paperwork or information they were denied and told only the appeal board can see it???( but the Smithers manager was allowed to read it?

Fact: After the NW zone officials made their ruling the BC Hockey officials over turned it and through them under the bus and hasn't looked back at all to see the mess they have created. What does that say to the other 8 or 9 zone officials around the province.. it says we don't have to supporrt your descion if we dont want too, regardless of the facts.

Based on the letter that Mrs Tom(NW disrtict official) she states " once the Kitimat coach seen the player on the ice", that is a load of bullshit. The Kitimat coach didn't know anything about the player. Once again NW official throwing someone else under the bus.

As for the comments by another parent " fair and square" you are totally correct, Terrace beat the Smithers team "Fair and Square" and the Kitimat boys, the Terrace boys and the Smithers boys all know this, asked them. It was the Officials that are not playing fair and square.

Dear Parent
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 5th March 2013
Please read the associated article. We have continually tried to contact Hockey BC and the officials involved. We cannot hold back a report on an issue simply because the other side refuses to talk.

The next article includes everything provided by BC Hockey and Smithers.

It is all balanced and provides all the available perspective. We have no personal interest in this story.
Comment by Cheryl Ann Stahel on 5th March 2013
Everyone has the right to their opionion and this is just one opinion. Its not an article as it doens't include a balanced set of information. I strongly disagree with the sour grapes jab at the Smithers players in the very last sentence. Remove all of the shenanigans and posturings and at the end of the day on Thursday a Midget team will be going to the provincials because they won the game that counts. That's fair and square - period. Back it up to the orginal decisions to play an ineligible player, to replay a game instead of disqualifying a team, and then to appeal the decision and you will find adults involved in every step. It will be the kids who win or lose the game that counts - fair and square.
disappointed ... but not surprised
Comment by Lynne Nordstrom on 5th March 2013
Having dealt with hockey issues for a number of years, I am totally disheartened to hear what has happened to the Terrace boys...but sadly not surprised.
Hockey seems to attract bullies in general and this is no different - someone decided they would "fix" an injustice that was done to them...never mind that it had already been dealt with. This they did when they decided that Terrace should never have been allowed to play the final game - even though there was an "official" ruling in place.
Shame on the District for agreeing to this; I wish I could say I expected more of you..but sadly after dealing with you for the past few years...I am not surprised. Shame on you...and just so you know, I would say the same for any town this was done to...not just Terrace.
Good luck boys from Smithers - it's not your fault this has happened - we all know where the fault lies.
To Terrace, you boys rock! Especially proud of you re the FSJ tourny...takes heart to do that.
Too bad some parents and elected volunteers don't have that....
Comment by Kitimat Hockey Mom on 4th March 2013
I am a hockey parent. I have been one for many years. I am very proud of my son and all that he has accomplished while being a hockey player. We have grown up through the whole rep hockey system and beyond.
Many good things have come from his hockey. Respect and discipline being a huge part of his hockey life. And this Mr. Peters, he did not learn from "mental rejects" as a matter of fact, he learned this mostly from his hockey coaches.

My hockey player son, along with the rest of his team/friends work out in the gym daily. They skate their butts off at least 4 times a week on the ice. They ride the hills on their bikes and they jog the same hills a couple times a week. I am not to sure Mr. Peters why you don't feel this is physical exercise? I am pretty positive that these boys are very "physically fit".

I get it that hockey is not "your" sport, but try not to be so judgemental about something you don't understand.

To the Terrace Midget Reps Hockey Team, I am truly very sad to read this story. You boys very much deserve to be going to the Provincials.
It is so unfortunate that "details, politics and pettiness" seem to be a part of kids sports these days. I hope that someone steps up and rights this wrong for you.
Poor Kids
Comment by Lance Armstrong on 4th March 2013
Those are the kinds of games you remember forever! Most of those kids will not play competetive hockey again after midgets, so these can be their biggest games. Winning the zones in overtime to go to provincials sounds awesome, only to have that taken away . Poor kids.
Agreeing with John
Comment by Gord on 4th March 2013

Ever heard of a stereotypes? Hockey is an amazing sport, and to call it unsportsmanlike is pure stupidity. Every sport has "bad" kids in it, so to blame an entire sport is ignorant. For the record, I happened to watch a basketball game and this kid who was "unsportsmanlike", so I guess it's fair to say they are all "mental rejects",(using your intellect).

As a hockey player myself, there is nothing more physically demanding. Saddening, really.
No Wuss here
Comment by Mr. Peters on 4th March 2013
My kids play on the school basketball, and volleyball teams, and they ski and ski race, so there is no wuss in our house. I would dare say they are in better shape and healthier then your average hockey player.

I have not had a bad experience in hockey, I just never cared for it. Watching how people act around hockey, I see no redeeming quality to the sport. Why would I want to place my kids around a group of drama queens?
Mr Peters quit being such a Wuss!
Comment by John on 4th March 2013

perhaps you missed this article about our Terrace Midget Rep Team earlier in the season, This team show alot of sportsmanship and has represented our community very well accross BC at various tournaments this season. And they deserve alot better than this.

Terrace Rep teams have had a very good reputation accross the province over the past many years for sportsmanship and discipline.

Mr Peters maybe you had a bad experience in hockey when you were young, keeping your kids out of the game is the same as these people living vicariously through their kids in Rep Hockey...shameful.

Perfect example
Comment by Mr. Peters on 4th March 2013
This would be just another example as to why I never let my kid even entertain the idea of playing hockey. There is no sportsmanship in the game and has not been for a very long time. It is now filled with mental rejects who are trying to relive what they think were their glory days, when in fact they never had any glory days to begin with.

It would be nice if they at the very least got some physical fitness out of it, but that is not even happening any more. If there was never another game of hockey played, it would be to soon.
Comment by Steve Smyth on 4th March 2013
Call Bob Storey in Fraser Lake, the former District Director. He's generally regarded as a Pro Smithers guy, or at least was in the past.
This thing stinks of the worst kind of political interference-Smithers parent(s ) getting beat on the ice and getting back at the Terrace kids in the most slimey and back handed way possible.
They used Kitimat like a cheap suit to achieve their ends. It's crap lke this that gives a wonderful game a bad name.

Smithers MHA should be ashamed of themselves.
where bullying starts
Comment by Catherine on 4th March 2013
This is a GAME not a life or death event. When parents, coaches and community leaders start bringing POLITICS into a children's game, the game is no longer about the kids! Shame on the adults who putrefy good old fashion fun!
Minor Hockey in general...
Comment by Manion Denise on 4th March 2013
I think this is just one example of MANY where parents fail in epic proportions with setting good examples and being positive role models. I personally know parents who have encouraged their young hockey players to be aggressive and down right mean on and off the ice. Why? I think it's because they don't know right from wrong themselves. It's a pity more than anything. I feel sorry for kids who look up to the people you've mentioned and to the ones that I know who are no different. I just don't think people like them can contribute anything good or worthwhile to our future generation (not mine anyhow).