From a CBC News Report

You know those moments when someone or something takes itself WAY to seriously? If you don’t you will shortly, because Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador suspended Brian Cranford, head coach of the Mount Pearl Junior Blades from coaching for a year and fined his club $2,000.

“Why would they do that?” Is what you are probably asking yourself right now.


Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador has slapped a junior hockey coach with a one-year suspension for allowing his players to study for exams instead of attending the opening ceremony for a recent tournament.

In addition to coach Brian Cranford’s suspension, the Mount Pearl Junior Blades team was fined $2,000 by hockey’s governing body in the province.

“We had a good reason for not going,” Cranford told CBC News. “We’re right in the middle of university exams.”

Cranford — who actually received an award from Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador last year — says it was hard enough getting his players out for the games, never mind the opening ceremonies.

To recap: Mr. Cranford was suspended from his position as a volunteer coach because he let his players study for their university exams instead of forcing them to attend the opening ceremony of a tournament. Naturally, Mr. Cranford and the Mount Pearl squad appealed the decision of the league and after a sober second thought the governing body determined it was best that they upheld his suspension.

Here’s the CBC report on the story.

I understand the rules are rules approach to things and that is an entirely valid argument to be made in its own right, but to suspend a coach who volunteers their time because they wanted to ensure that their players are looking after their education, you have lost a different one.

There are many things in the world which are much more important than hockey. Education is an inherently important thing on its own merit. Therefore, education is certainly something which should be valued more highly than the opening ceremony of a hockey tournament, particularly if the players are reluctant to participate in the first place because of their commitments to exams. To suspend a coach for obliging his players and giving them an opportunity to prepare for school is ludicrous.

The job of an amateur coach is much more nuanced than that of a professional one. It’s common to hear coaches at the junior level speak of how much value they derive from ensuring they help their players develop into well-rounded, quality people. It’s not as simple as playing games to collect wins and trophies. In the case of junior hockey it’s about looking after your kids above all else.

If Mr. Cranford felt he was doing his players a disservice by forcing them to attend these ceremonies, he owed it to them to notify the committee that they wouldn’t be there and that they had an appropriate reason for doing so. He did just that and they had just that, it is ludicrous that he has been suspended for a year.

Let the man coach. You owe it to his players. You owe it to him. He did his job just fine.