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REPORTING · 5th March 2013
Merv Ritchie
UPDATED
This is a follow up story to the original - Read it by Clicking here.

Hockey has a way of creating hostile competitive environments. Although we do not see fans fighting in the stands like the European soccer matches we do have hostile angry parents and coaches. Indeed it is fights during NHL games which attract the most vocal supportive outbursts from the fans.

Northwest BC is no different. Kitimat, Terrace, Smithers and Prince Rupert each have histories of conflicts within Minor and Senior Hockey leagues. This is why there are clear rules and obligations designed and written in the organizational structure of these leagues.

In 2006, when we arrived in the region, we travelled through Smithers and wrote on the exciting Hockeyville contest.

Read our 2006 writing here

We did the same during their second attempt and when it was suggested Terrace make an attempt we published the desire and promoted it extensively, so much so, Terrace was successful. In our coverage of this and the subsequent attempt by Hazelton we discovered numerous individuals from the Smithers region who held serious grudges towards Terrace for their success.

This can be understood when one realizes Smithers actually won but CBC did not know it until the celebrations were over. And some Smithers residents and hockey aficionados are still angry. - from a reader;

“Smithers actually won that first year but CBC didn't know until 3 days after they made their announcement. A group of computer teckies hooked the online voting to the white pages online in Halifax in the last 24 hours of the voting period. Even with that they just managed to beat [Smithers]. It took them 3 days to figure out all the votes were coming in from one location and server! This never went public.” The Terrace reader also stated; “they were really pissed when we won Hockeyville, even to this day I still hear about it.”

Therefore; it is of serious interest to us, as the media outlet who initiated the Terrace effort, as well as promoting and encouraging the Smithers efforts, how the stunning strength of the young Terrace men, the offspring of the training by the Canucks and so many more who came to Terrace to encourage our youth, that the adults in Smithers are perceivably acting in a vindictive manner.

Although we have no evidence this is the issue behind this attack on the young hockey players of the northwest, it is the only issue that makes any sence.

We have repeatedly emailed those involved for comment and have only received one response. The letter is attached below.

Also attached is the response to this letter by the Terrace Head Coach.

We begin with our questions to the author of the letter we received, the official from Smithers, who is apparently in charge of making some of the decisions which resulted in this controversy. We advised all parties we would be publishing this and asked for their response. Our email inbox and phone remained silent.


Email sent to; Chantal Tom chantaltom27,,,gmail.com,
and cc’d to; tsoucie,,,telus.net, ktminaker,,,telus.net, turkodave,,,gmail.com prmha,,,citytel.net


Thank you Chantal,

I have been forwarded a response from a Terrace representative who included a reference to the rules and challenges some of the statements made in your letter.

I wonder if you have the time to respond to a couple further questions.

First - If the rules state a decision made on an appeal during a playoff cannot be appealed to a higher level (sec 14.1) why was this allowed to proceed?

Second - Is it true the request by Terrace to play the championship game the following weekend was made to you by phone?

Third - Given the fact Terrace and Kitimat agreed to the on ice decision and indeed played a second game, obviously accepting of the on-ice ruling, why was Smithers allowed to appeal it?

And could you comment on the optics of these rulings and challenges.

The optics being this.

The Terrace team was obviously at a disadvantage due to being tired from playing extra games going into the final. Smithers accepted to play knowing Terrace would be tired. Erin arranged the ice also understanding this and these concerns of Terrace were also expressed to you. Once this (obviously exciting) match was finished, with the win for Terrace, the Smithers officials (obviously disappointed with the result) broke the rules (14.1) and initiated an appeal anyways. All of the details were well known to all the on ice and off ice decision makers, coaches and officials. The optics are clearly the Smithers team officials are displaying bad sportsmanship by manipulating the previous events, the decisions made and accepted on ice, as the desire to win by taking advantage of the tired Terrace team failed. All the young men participated by playing all the games and all struggling hard to win fairly and cleanly. It is not the young men here who are deciding events by their skill, it is the parents, acting as officials who are.

Please respond asap as we are going to print all these details shortly.


Original and only response - the letter from Chantal Tom Monday, March 4, 2012.

In regards to the Midget Tier 3 Zone Championship Playoffs

Just to clarify the events that took place over the weekend of February 22- 24, 2013.
During Terrace’s second of three round robin games, a player from Terrace had received a penalty, Head Contact Major – which consists of a 5 minute major and game misconduct. The player was ejected from the game at this time. As per the BC Hockey Suspension guidelines that were sent to all Associations across the Northwest on numerous occasions. The penalty would have the player sit the next game (or 7 days, whichever comes first). All coaches are well aware of this guideline as it has been in place all season and clarified a few times to the coaches and Presidents.

During Terrace’s third scheduled game (vs Kitimat), the coach decided that the player could play.

Once Kitimat seen the player on the ice, they immediately questioned the NW District Representative. The District Rep called myself and Bob Storey immediately, requesting guidance on the matter. Both Bob and I told her to go to the Terrace bench and inform the coach that the player should not be on the ice. Terrace, then removed the player during the first period and had him undress for the remainder of the game.

At the conclusion of the game, which had a score of 10 – 1 for Terrace, Kitimat launched an appeal against Terrace for use of an “Ineligible Player”. Immediately, following their appeal, Terrace responded with their own appeal stating that the NW District Representative did not inform them that the player was suspended and should not have played. They continued to state that the official, which was later confirmed not to be true, informed them that the player could play.

All documents were sent to Darryl Lerum, District Director, Bob Storey, NW District Vice-President and Chantal Tom, NW District President. After reviewing the documents overnight, it was decided that there would be a conference call scheduled for 8:30 am regarding the appeals and accusations made.

Chantal met with Dan Nickel (during the Bantam Tier 4 Zones in Vanderhoof) and reviewed the documents with him. After some deliberating, we discussed some solutions that would not punish the kids for the coaches ignorance of the suspension guidelines. Chantal recommended to everyone that Terrace replay the game against Kitimat in the morning during the regular scheduled Championship Game. We contacted the District Rep in Smithers immediately and informed her to talk to Kitimat and Terrace and let them know our decision. We also asked the Rep to see if they could get ice to play the Championship Game later that day or the following weekend if she could not confirm for Sunday, February 24th.

There is one thing that has since come to light as well, that did not occur, and that was informing Kitimat of their options prior to playing the original makeup game. The District did not properly inform them that they could take the points from their appeal, which would have put them in 2nd place and in the Zone championship game.

The reason I suggested this solution was for the following:

• The issue of the official supposedly saying the player could play, (later it was revealed the official denies any such statement). Perception that the Kitimat official said yes, when in fact, the player should have sat

• The accusations that the NW District Rep, was possibly in conflict (again dismissed )

• Potential timing of Terrace receiving the game sheet from the previous game


Following the Terrace vs Kitimat game, I received yet another appeal from Terri Soucie, Terrace President, appealing our decision to make Terrace play again on Sunday at 4:45 pm in the Championship Game. Terri’s appeal did not have the appeal fee attached, so was immediately denied. The Championship game was 4 hours after Terrace’s first game which we felt was ample time in between. Smithers played the game against Terrace and lost by 1 goal. Smithers then put forward an appeal to BC Hockey regarding our initial decision about having the game re-played without the coach and player from Terrace.

BC Hockey Appeal Chair accepted the appeal and scheduled an Appeal Committee meeting, via teleconference, with 3 members of BC Hockey, Chantal Tom & Bob Storey (NW District Reps), Dave Turko & Bobby Love (Smithers MHA). The meeting lasted 40 minutes with questions being asked regarding our decision and why we made it. Following our meeting, BC Hockey Appeal Committee met once again to rule on the appeal put forward by Smithers. BC Hockey then came back that they have upheld the Appeal and that Terrace would forfeit the game in which they played an ineligible player, which in turn, put them 3rd in the round robin play.

Kitimat was awarded the points for the game and therefore, were then informed that they would play in the Championship Game against Smithers this week to determine who represents the NW District at the Midget Tier 3 Championships in Port Alberni.

My feelings personally on this matter have changed drastically since the beginning.

We were trying to simply allow the issue to be settled on the ice, not off. Unfortunately, any decision the NW District does decide is subject to be appeal at a higher level, BC Hockey. When Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers did not argue our original decision of having the game replayed, we felt that we came to a mutual agreement between all Associations that benefited all the kids.

The District only tries to administer the rules and constitution that the members have established. For whatever reason the Terrace team officials played an illegal player, the BC Hockey Constitution clearly states “6.01 Any ineligible player or team official who signs the game sheet and/or participates in any BC Hockey sanctioned game will cause their team to forfeit the game regardless of the score of the game. The team official(s) responsible will be suspended indefinitely pending an investigation.”

To make accusations of malice regarding a fellow volunteer, and continuously make vicious comments regarding the North West District is very disappointing and unacceptable. I am very disappointed that the coaches do not take any responsibility in this situation, but feel it is better to make false statements about neighbouring Associations and the District.

Chantal Tom, President
North West District Minor Hockey Association


Response to Chantals Letter by the President of the Terrace Minor Hockey Association

Chantal really? You have time to write this letter but not respond to me? I have been emailing and emailing asking what is happening to Terrace Midget Rep team for 2 days now and not once have I received and official email from you as President of our District! I have not been informed if my team is disqualified or what the next steps we can take!

For you to say my appeal about the champion game was denied because I did not submit the funds? WOW! I never even sent in a letter. We were on the phone! You told me that the champion game would not be held until the following weekend and that you were going to attend.

In the meantime Erin was rounding up ice and organizing the champion game! I then informed you of this and you stated that you will get a hold of Erin and get back to me! My coach had agreed to play at the time Erin suggested and that is why it was decided not because of some money!

I am appalled by this letter and that you make the decision to tell everyone but me as President of Terrace Minor Hockey on what is going on with the appeal and what it means!

So is this your official letter to me that my boys are disqualified? You don’t even take ownership or stand by your original decision? You now just cast blame out and state that we lied?

Neither I nor my coaches are responsible for the social media! For you to say you’re disappointed in my coaches for not taking responsibility for their actions to play a suspended player is just plan lies! Not once have I ever said we were not at blame! And I believe that your decision to re-play the Terrace Kitimat game was based on the fact that you knew the District and Erin shared responsibilities. As it clearly states in the checklist you sent out to me and all other District Representatives at Zone play downs. (attached below)

I’m deeply saddened by the outcome of the BC Hockey decision and this letter! Also disappointed how this is being handled. What’s also disappointing is that we have had to drag 38 young men into this whole mess and the only thing they could control was the final game which had the best 2 team in the SVHL competing for the Provincial birth.

I am ashamed as a leader of our association how politics and adult involvement can tamper with 38 players’ emotions to this degree. Shame on you and the district!
Terri Soucie,
President, TMHA


Rules as provided to the teams playing in the Smithers tournament
2013 Zone Playdown Checklist
Check all rosters to game sheet•

o All players and team officials must be “Approved” as of the HCR Carded Roster. Chantal will provide the Final Rosters for each team attending Zones and forward to appropriate NW District Representative.

o Check rosters against memo noting players & team officials that are under current Hockey Canada suspensions.

o If there are any MAJOR/GAME/GROSS/MATCH penalties please inform the Erin asap and she will let you know if any of the players previous suspensions prevent him from continuing in zones.

Appeals as per 14.1 of the NWDMHA Consititution;•

o Any decision made from a protest during playoffs is final and cannot be appealed to the Appeals Committee

Collect all game sheets and ensure they are completed correctly prior to submitting them to the District Statistician by Monday night following zones (fax is• 1-888-501-6698) or email to nwdistrictstats,,,live.ca).

o Top two copies of game sheet are NWDMHA copies unless the ref needs the top copy for a ref report
Overtime is played.....

Calculate final standings and apply “Tie Breaking Formula” as per BC Hockey.

Present Zone Championship winner Banner. (And League Champion banner if applicable).

Ensure all officials have been paid prior there returning to their home association.•

o Assist with the Zone Expense Form
Inform Daryl Lerum and Chantal Tom the winners of zones•
Tracy, read the facts, and rules work both ways
Comment by Dave on 9th March 2013
We didn't know the rule, our fault.

BC Hockey makes a position to enforce the rules at zones. Erin did not check the game sheet after the game or before the next game.

Bobbie Love, the Smithers manager, knew the suspended player was going to play the next game.

Neither Bobbie or Erin said anything to the Terrace coaches.

Then they waited till the puck dropped.

That is malicious and deceitful.

All so they could get Terrace out of the final game.
Tracey
Comment by Steve Smyth on 8th March 2013
Firstly, you naswered none of my 2 questions. Secondly, ask your own coaches and referees how consistently this call has been made province wide all season. How can you appeal something that your own rules say no appeal is allowed?
Really Steve.......
Comment by Tracey Turko on 8th March 2013
Steve,

Pehaps I could send you the direct link to Terrace minor hockey web site and you and your coaches can read word for word the BC Hockey bulletin explaining and itemizing the suspension guidelines. Funny that your coaches wouldn't know about it, but it is posted on the TMHA web site for anyone to read.
Really Don?
Comment by Steve Smyth on 8th March 2013
Throw the Coach under the bus? I expected more from a member of the fraternity. Here's the 64,000$ questions
1) wheres the teaching? What did the Smithers players learn from this?
2) If it was really about due process and the "right thing being done" had Smithers won the final game, would Smithers support an appeal based on the fact that Kitimat didnt get a fair shake and should have been in the final?


I think we know the answer
Follow the rules!
Comment by Don and Shirley Pederson on 5th March 2013
BC Hockey has dealt with issues like this for many, many years ...hence, the rules! You forfeit the game if you play an ineligible player, it's that simple. End of discussion... ignorance is not an excuse. There is only one person at fault here!
History Professor TRU, Kamloops
Comment by john hart on 5th March 2013
Reading all the material about the Terrace/Smithers debacle about representing the NW at Provincial could only prove that someone somewhere is not telling the truth and that this deception is affecting many participants and NW communities causing considerable anxiety . It appears that the Terrace team clearly understood that their performance at the Smithers Tournament was resolved and that their successful victory in the Final Game assured their trip to Port Alberni. Evidently not so. What is needed is a full enquiry into all aspects of the dispute with a full exposure of all behaviour of all involved. If this is not done, justice will not have been served. True Justice must be the goal here
both sides
Comment by Steve Smyth on 5th March 2013
As someone involved in both Terrace's successful Hockeyville bid and the current Hockey BC's forerunner in an executive capacity- I have to agree with the Smithers Hockeyville person-there is no Hockeyville axe to grind and we probably wouldnt have won without our neighbours support.

This issue goes back to the merging of the pre-existing Omenica Leagues and the pre-existing Skeena Valley League. Before that, east was east and west was west and competition was limited to the occasional meet at tournaments. Once the Leagues were merged (at Hockey BC's urging, as i recall) the cultural issues occasioanlly flared up, and this is one of those issues.
As a Past president of TMHA, im shocked that a Series Supervisor was appointed who was in a conflict of interest position. I've supervised series in the past but the guidelines were VERY clear that there were NO children playing on teams that i was supervising.

Smithers MHA should be ashamed of themselves and their represenatives for this debacle. The original decision to replay the game gave them a huge competive edge by making Terrace play virtually back to back, along with dealing with the roller coaster of emotions that went along with this whole affair.

I must say that this type of legal wrangling and influence peddling that gives the great game such a bad name

Hockeyville is not the root of the issue, greed and personal gain through peoples children is.

And I was there.
Comment by Withheld on 5th March 2013
I was there in Smithers (in an official capacity) at the zone playoffs and I can vouch for the fact that the final game (now negated) between Terrace and Smithers was one for the ages and can appreciate how crushing this must be for the Terrace players and their parents.

Something interesting I’m not sure you’re aware of that relates to the NW District Rep being possibly in conflict. Her name is Erin Rowsell and she has a son who plays Midget Rep for Smithers. So certainly there was some personal motivation on her part to ensure that Kitimat appealed its game vs. Terrace and assist in the process for the benefit of her son’s team having a weaker opponent (in theory Kitimat) in the title game.

Just thought everyone might like to know this little detail.
missed the point with Hockeyville
Comment by smithershockeyville on 5th March 2013
As the head of the 2006 Smithers Kraft Hockeyville committee, I feel that you must have missed the whole point of the contest if you feel that has created a rift between our Northern Communities. From day one of the Kraft Hockeyville competition, we understood that a Town the size of Smithers was not going to win a national contest without the combined efforts of the North.
I was absolutely amazed by the outpouring of support and stories from, not only the Northwest, but all over the country. The one thing all of our committee members walked away with from the experience was that we are all connected in some way and the Northwest is a community in itself. When Terrace won in 2009 it was not only Terrace that was submitting votes, people all over the Northwest were showing their support for the region. I know of many people here in Smithers who were casting their votes for Terrace at a feverish pace.
We live in a very special part of the country. Most of us who choose to live here, do so because we recognize that and we want to share it as many people as we can. Whether it is the beautiful Lakes District, Morricetown Canyon, Fishing in Terrace / Kitimat or driving along the Skeena towards Prince Rupert, we are blessed to live in this corner of the world! We entered into a national contest to shine a spotlight on the people and places that surround us.
As you mentioned in your article, we were told on the “down-low” some time after the 2006 Hockeyville cup was awarded to Salmon River, that there was a glitch in the voting system and that it was actually Smithers that had won. Believe me when I say, that I know what it is like to have to live with a controversial ruling after pouring heart and soul into a particular competition. For a time, there were some who went through the “stages of loss”, denial, anger, bargaining….and yes, even some “sour grapes”.
Once time passed, we as a community reached the final stage…Acceptance. We moved on, you should too, to say that it has caused ill feeling amongst our communities sullies the tireless efforts put in by all the people who have competed over the years. It was a good experience, good for Smithers, good for the North, and yes, good for Terrace too!
If you want to find someone to blame for this most recent decision, I would say the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the coach who played the ineligible player, or possibly BC Hockey.
Blaming Hockeyville is just SOUR GRAPES!
The unfortunate TRUTH
Comment by Parent, Coach on 5th March 2013
What is sad in all of this is the fact that the "parent, time keeper,team manager and writer of the appeal" was aware of the Rule and knew before the game started that the player was going to play, (what is even sadder is which other Officials knew) and in fact waited for the puck to drop and game to start before saying anything.
It was then that Officials went to the Kitimat Manager and advised them that the game was now forfeited and they need to appeal and in fact supplied information to help their cause.
After the 1 st period in the locker room was when the Terrace coaches were advised about "playing a suspended player"
Yes in fact it was an oversite on behalf of the coaches and 100% their responceability to know the rules. It has also been stated by all the BC Hockey officials that this rule is not clear and in fact many head officals did not know or understand the rule. There was no question a rule was broken and there must be consequences to this. The punishment was given to the team, Coach and player, miss the next game. This was a great ruling and very proactive from the officials that came up with it, until they had to defend it and stand by it.

This is why the second appeal by the Smithers manager was so disgusting....because it was out of sheer malice and vindictive nature, no other reason. How could he (they) sit there and wait for the puck to drop before saying anything? It is the sad truth that these individuals represent their organization and the kids.

The deciding factor on who represents the Northwest Zones was decided on the ice after 66 mins of excellent hockey and because of hatred and malice the winning team will not be representing the North at Provincials.

It is a sad day for BC Hockey that they condoned this behavior and supported Smithers with their goal of reaching Provincials NO MATTER of the costs.
Once Kitimat "SEEN'"
Comment by Caroline Lozinski on 5th March 2013
Once Kitimat "SEEN'" the player on the ice.....Really? Seriously?......SEEN???......that's all I have to say