Decision may put coaches back on the ice

UPDATE: VIAHA president Jim Humphrey reported Friday that the CVMHA executive accepted the decision from VIAHA and the suspensions have been lifted.

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The suspended executive from the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association could be restored and the affected coaches could be back behind benches as early as Friday morning depending on the reaction to a decision from the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association presented Thursday night.

The entire executive was suspended indefinitely beginning Jan. 23 as VIAHA conducted an investigation into irregularities at the Jan. 13 meeting where the executive appointed a replacement to fill the vacant president’s position.

VIAHA’s decision determined that the executive "did not adhere to their bylaws and in fact acted contrary to several of them" and ruled the appointment of the new president null and void.

"If they accept the decision tonight, the suspension will be lifted," Humphrey told the Citizen on Thursday, prior to meeting with the suspended executive that evening.

The VIAHA investigation determined that there were several irregularities at the Jan. 13 meeting, including a failure to advise executive members in advance that votes would be taken to accept the resignation of the former president and to replace him.

VIAHA also found that the vote for the new president was done under "extenuating circumstances" which suggests that there was no one on the executive with the one year of experience required to qualify for the president’s position, although the decision claims that there were executive members who met the criteria.

"Hopefully they will accept the findings, and that will trigger the executive to be restored as members in good standing," Humphrey said. "If there are issues after that, we can work together to solve those issues."

Humphrey estimated that more than 1,000 man-hours had been spent on the decision.

If the CVMHA executive accepts VIAHA’s decision and is restored, there are several options with regard to filling the president’s position, according to Humphrey. They can choose to wait until the next annual general meeting and have the membership elect a president, or they can appoint a new president from the executive based on the required one year of experience. If no one on the current board has the necessary experience, they can canvass the membership for someone who does and wants to serve as president. If no one who qualifies can be found, then a motion can be made for extenuating circumstances.

The executive can also appeal the decision, which Humphrey doesn’t want to see happen.

"I hope they don’t because there are bigger and better things to worry about, like getting the kids on the ice," he said.

The executive members included six coaches and at least one manager, who were also unable to fill those roles while they were suspended, and many parents were unhappy with that development.

"Our goal is not to keep coaches from coaching," Humphrey said. "Our goal is to have the kids have coaches on the bench that they started with last September. If that doesn’t happen, that’s the decision of the coaches who are also members of the executive."