West Kelowna father accuses minor hockey coaches of revenge-benching his son | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna father accuses minor hockey coaches of revenge-benching his son

Sam Lescarbeau sits on the bench during a Knights of West Kelowna hockey game. West Kelowna resident Gary Moore leaked a letter written by Sam's dad about why he quit and now Moore says the league is taking it out on his son.
Image Credit: Contributed
November 04, 2016 - 2:34 PM


WEST KELOWNA – A local father says his 11-year-old son is being punished by the West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association because of a letter he leaked to the media last year.

Gary Moore’s son Liam played for the West Kelowna Warriors Atom B team last year. One of the top scorers, he was excited to move up to Pee Wee where he anticipated a place once again with the top or second tier.

Instead, however, he was put on the house team.

“House is as low as you can go,” Moore says. “Some of the kids can barely skate. My son is skating circles around them. The last game he scored four goals and got one assist.”

Moore says the only reason his son isn’t playing for the A or B team is because of the leaked letter written by another father and sent to all the parents last May. In it, Yannick Lescarbeau tries to explain why his son Sam decided to quit a game he loved so much.

“It was important to share why Sam and I decided to leave the team,” Lescarbeau wrote in the letter. "Like every nine-year-old on that team, Sam dreams and lives hockey, and when hockey is no longer fun, when you find yourself crying on the bench because as a nine-year-old, you have only played two shifts in the game, no matter how important that game is… it is time to have a talk with yourself and re-evaluate why we do this.”

Moore has come forward as the parent who sent the email to the media because he says the West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association plays favourites and he has nothing left to lose.

“They’re bullies,” he says. “They’re like gangsters of the hockey world. It’s not how good a player you are, it’s who you know.”

Moore says he understands a lot of people will think he’s bitter and biased towards his son’s performance but that’s not the case. Moore is from England and admits to having very little knowledge of hockey.

“I’m not an average hockey dad,” he says. “I’m not one of those parents trying to get their kid into the NHL, it’s quite the opposite. He loves it and he’s good at it. He was one of the top scorers last season.”

Moore says he noticed Liam’s ice time drop soon after the story went viral across North America, and by the time Pee Wee tryouts came around, he felt his family had been blacklisted.

“None of this would have happened if I hadn’t leaked that letter,” he says. “I do regret it because it’s affecting my son but people have to know. It’s ridiculous that they can do that. It all stems from me exposing that open letter.”

Moore says other parents complain to him privately about the same behaviour but are unwilling to speak up.

“The world of (minor) hockey is a lot of politics,” he says. “It’s hidden, it’s quiet, no one wants to say anything because their kids will get short-benched. If you don’t toe the line your kid suffers."

“I knew nothing about hockey when I got into it. People said there is a lot of politics but I thought 'how can there be politics with nine-year-olds?'”

A request for comment from West Kelowna Warriors Minor Hockey Association head coach David Whistle has gone unanswered.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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