You’ve heard of prioritizing athletic events over education before. Sadly, that’s not new or surprising. What is surprising, though, is when someone prioritizes the opening ceremonies of athletic events over education.
That’s exactly what Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador -- the governing body of all ice hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada -- did recently when a coach permitted his players to skip the opening ceremonies of a tournament so that they could study for their exams.
Brian Cranford, coach of the Mount Pearl Junior Blades, was fined $2,000 and suspended for a whole year by the organization when he excused his boys from attending a totally useless gathering – opting instead to have them buckle down and get ready for their looming college tests.
“We had a good reason for not going,” Cranford told CBC. “We’re right in the middle of university exams.
"These are junior kids, they’re 18, 19, 20 years old. Because of our schedule, we had real issues trying to get a team iced for every game."
On top of having a very good reason for doing what he did, Cranford went so far as to give advance notice to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador about his players not attending the event. That wasn’t enough for president Jack Lee, though. As noted by CBC, Lee maintained that the rules were clear, and that all squads had to be at the tournament from start to finish. Hence the tough punishment.
Cranford and his team appealed the suspension as soon as it was handed down; unfortunately, they lost. Now the coach has hired a lawyer and plans to take the matter to Hockey Canada.
If you didn't know before, you know now – they take their hockey way too seriously up north.