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Hockey dispute: something's gone terribly awry

We think everyone involved needs to take a few minutes to refocus on what's important: the kids on the ice.

While details are still sketchy, as everyone is talking around the allegations that have led to the suspension of Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association officials, rather than laying them out on the table in public, what we do know for sure is that the upheaval has trickled down to the players already.

In large part this is due to the fact that six team coaches are among the executives who have been suspended.

Strong words are being used to describe the as-yet-unproven and as-yet-undisclosed allegations, though they seem to be bureaucratic in nature.

And Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association president Jim Humphrey's statement that "Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey have not been good ambassadors for hockey this year," and that other associations did not want to play Cowichan teams this year are shocking.

Whether the allegations, whatever they may be, are proven to be true or not, Humphrey's statements along speak to an environment in which something has gone horribly awry.

And it's all at the adult level. Yet the kids on the ice, who want to be focusing on their games and championships, have been thrust into the middle of this debacle.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation that's currently being conducted, it seems clear that something in the organization needs to change.

It seems likely that we haven't gotten to this point simply because of a single incident or point of contention.

It's time the adults involved went back to the basics and refocused on what it's all about: the kids.

That's the goal, after all, isn't it? Teaching the kids in the Cowichan Valley the great sport of hockey.

That's what the association exists for.

What happens behind the scenes should be done in such a manner that it can remain there, the duck's feet paddling away below that water keeping everything quietly afloat.

Taking centre ice should be reserved for the players.

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