We got a call today from a very unhappy player; his new junior team promised his parents the moon and delivered an empty pop can.
The pictures on the website did not match the facilities delivered. The high tech fitness center turned out to be the coach's garage, and worse, the luxury accommodations turned out to be the grandparents of the same coach, where the eight players being housed were expected to change the single box for a house full of cats. Nice.
The idea of four bunk beds in the basement does not sound too bad, but the cats would have to go. The players did have their own kitchenette, bathroom, and above all, some privacy. It was the dang cats that broke the deal. Well, that and the school bus, lack of equipment, and the coach's garage / fitness center.
How can this be happening? In this information age, how can a team pull such an amazing bait and switch? The parents of the player instantly came to the rescue and aid of their child, but the team in question had their money and was refusing to part with even a fraction of it. Until we called.
The family is returning home with a bad taste in their mouth from the experience, they have the full release, but now their son does not have a place to play. We have put them in touch with a team that is closer to home and in need of additional players.
The part of this story that really stinks is this, the team in question has been around for a while. My question is how have they operated without a complaint? Because the reputation of causing trouble has a way of following a player.
A coach has entirely too much power and influence over the players' careers. College coaches depend on the recommendation of the junior coaches, and coaches often abuse that power.
A coach's reputation for doing things the right way is absolute gold. Players should seek coaches and programs with such a reputation. Not every small operator is a crook, but players need to be especially careful with programs that are owned, operated, managed, and coached by the same person. Again, most of these guys do the right thing or they would not stay in business, but if today is any indication, there is more than one that had fallen through the cracks.
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.ca. JuniorHockey.ca does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.