Monday, February 18, 2013

Fans Owed An Explanation

By Andrew McGilligan
SN Staff

Today is a big moment for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in its relations with fans. It’s the day the league will sit down and hash out whether the claim that Ryan Tesink was damaged goods when the Saint John Sea Dogs dealt the 19-year-old to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for a first-round draft pick is valid or not.

I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the situation beyond what has been reported, but I know the league can’t handle this situation in their typical fashion. The QMJHL is prone to simply releasing a statement regarding their decisions and saying no further comment will be forthcoming.

Once again, I don’t know why this is policy, but I do know there have been several decisions that have been controversial at best and the league has never bothered to clarify. Perhaps the theory is if you can’t justify your decision, it’s best not to open your mouth and confirm it.

This brings us to today’s hearing. No matter what the decision, the league – specifically commissioner Gilles Courteau – needs to make it clear why the decision was made in favour of one side or another. If it does not, than fans should feel insulted by the league brass – specifically Courteau.

By not defending key decisions in the past, the league has set a precedent that it doesn’t feel the need to keep the people who make the QMJHL viable – the fans – aware of what is happening in the league they pay money to watch. This boils down, in my opinion, to a simple lack of respect or, at worst, disdain for the fans by those running the league office.

Perhaps Courteau will come out and explain today’s decision. Nothing is impossible, but a betting man wouldn’t be putting money down on that one. Maybe Courteau will do as he has done in the past and pass the buck on the decision by saying it was out of his hands (as he did with the 2012 Memorial Cup bid).

No matter the decision, fans are owed an explanation. If none is forthcoming, than the league will continue to operate at its status quo. A vague and secretive status quo which keeps everyone in the dark, but a status quo none the less.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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