West Kelowna Minor Hockey responds to angry hockey dad | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna Minor Hockey responds to angry hockey dad

Stock image of a young hockey player.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
November 08, 2016 - 8:00 PM

'IS IT A PERFECT SYSTEM? NO. DO WE WORK ON IT EVERY YEAR TO IMPROVE IT? YES'

WEST KELOWNA – The governing body for minor hockey in West Kelowna denies revenge-benching the son of a man who leaked an internal email to the media last year.

West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association spokesperson Marnie Douglas says despite one parents’ claims of favouritism and spite, coaches are unbiased and only trying to walk the line between teaching and winning games.

When West Kelowna resident Gary Moore’s son was placed in the house league of his Pee Wee division, he took to social media to protest what he says is a “corrupt” cadre of “gangsters.”

“It’s not how good a player you are, it’s who you know,” Moore said. “The world of (minor) hockey is a lot of politics. 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."

He says coaches are punishing his son because Moore leaked to the media a heartbreaking letter why a West Kelowna boy quit hockey.

Douglas says Moore's son didn’t make either the Pee Wee 2 or 3 rep teams because there simply weren’t enough spots. The West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association manages 567 players between five and 17-years-old on 31 teams, eight of which are rep.

“Because of (the players) age he would be in first year Pee Wee,” she says. “There (were) piles of kids (who) played in that last year so he was competing with a lot of older kids.”

She says 44 kids tried out for the 17 spots on Pee Wee 2 rep team, while 31 tried for the comparatively less competitive Pee Wee 3 rep team. Those who don't make either are put on the Pee Wee house team.

“I do take issue that house is the lowest of the low,” Douglas says of Moore’s claim that house is “as low as you can go.”

“It’s insulting to the other kids,” she says. “(Acceptance) is not based on personal favourites, it’s based on Hockey Canada’s evaluation policies. We actually have a process, and to the best of our abilities whenever possible we have followed that process.”

Douglas says Moore declined the Association’s numerous offers to meet, choosing instead to attack them through social media.

She may take issue with how Moore handled things, but he's not alone.

Jodi McClarty is another West Kelowna parent who feels her child has been treated unfairly by the Minor Hockey Association. She says her son’s spot on the rep team was given to another player, sending him to house.

“He (the other player) did not try out for rep hockey and he did not pay the rep hockey tryout fees,” she says. “Originally he had decided he didn't want to play hockey this year, so didn't register. (West Kelowna) Minor Hockey indicated that he was not registered and that if he did register, he would only be able to register to a house team as he did not try out for rep. A week later, I noticed the boy's name listed on the tier 3 roster.”

McClarty says the association then told her the coach requested he stay with the tier 3 team. Although it is often the case that coaches are also parents, Douglas denies there is any bias but says players can try out for teams that are coached by non-parents.

“There is a perceived bias,” Douglas says. “But they adhere to a code of fair ice time.”

While there is no official document or mandate that specifies the competitiveness of each level, Douglas says it’s “generally understood.”

“No process or policy is flawless by any means,” she says. “There is always going to be someone or even more than one family upset with what happens. If everyone gets equal time some parents get upset at the coaches because they’re losing. Is it a perfect system? No. Do we work on it every year to improve it? Yes.”


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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