Saturday, November 19, 2011


Hope this is a lesson for perpetrators out there.  A man got 5 1/2 years in prison for trying to 'friend' one of his sexual assault victims on Facebook.  Of course, this is an American court case.  In Canada, he would've gotten a lecture and some counselling.


Alcohol is a funny thing.  You can ply someone with it to take advantage of a girl and also use it on yourself to use as an excuse for doing so.

It's a funny place where we live.  Sex assault is not really a sex assault if you go on a trip.

Overweight people don't, necessarily, eat a lot.

Some people will sympathize with the accused in this particular case, but there have to be serious consequences in order for future potential disasters to be averted.

If you are a newspaper reader and have an iPhone, then PressReader is an absolute 'must have'.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I thought this was funny.

This is exactly what's wrong with hockey at the NHL level.  Winning is more important than entertainment.  Before you say that there is nothing wrong with winning being more important than entertainment, consider how important winning is if there is nobody there to watch you win.

One of the things I wonder about when it comes to hockey is how many coaches are too many?  You have three on the bench, and who knows how many in the press box.  Usually, someone in the press box is able to communicate with a wireless device to one of the assistants on the bench.  I wonder if we scaled back to a head coach and an assistant coach and forbid anyone else from being on the bench or in the press box, if that would allow for more mistakes to be made during the course of a game.  After all, it's mistakes that cause goals and it's mistakes that make junior hockey so much fun to watch.

I also still come back to the equipment.  Shed some of it.  There would be less concussions if guys could wear more modest elbow pads, for example.  You want to stick your elbow up near someone's head?  Be prepared to break your arm.  And, in today's day and age there has to be a way of making sure goalies are properly protected without making them look like they are six feet wide in addition to being six feet high.

I look at the NFL and the stance they've taken on protecting quarterbacks has made their game more enjoyable to watch.  There is more room for the quarterback to operate and, therefore, we are seeing more down the field passes.

MLB could be more fun for the viewer if they put a time limit on how long you can take in between pitches thrown.

The NBA changed years ago when they invented the three point line.  And, yes you probably see guys 'travel' all the time, but it's more fun to watch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Former Yorkton/La Ronge/Estevan goaltender Joel Danyluk won a trip to Europe this past summer through a promotion done between the SJHL and Contiki Holidays.

Veronica K Photography has put together a picture/video slide show that can now be seen on YouTube.

Joel wishes to thank Veronica for all of her hard work.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I purchased ‘The Lost Dream’ over the weekend.  That’s a book written by the very talented Steve Simmons and it’s about former NHLer Mike Danton, David Frost, and the broken family The Jeffersons.  If you are not familiar with the story, Danton (then known as Mike Jefferson) was taken under Frost’s wing as a young teenager and ended up divorcing himself from his family.  In 2004, Danton was arrested for trying to have Frost killed.  Danton has since recanted, saying he was trying to have his biological father, Steve, killed instead.

The book is a big time page turner and I read it in one day.  That’s not normal for me.  Usually, I’m so busy that it takes me months to read a book.  This one…I couldn’t put it down.  I was walking around the house reading it and stayed up super late to finish it. 

Some of the things that really struck me:  I can’t believe how much power a hockey coach can wield over his players.  I’ve been involved in hockey for a number of years, but never at a high level when it comes to being a player or a coach.  It blows my mind what a coach can get a player to do and when that power is abused, it can really mess up a lot of people’s lives.  One time, Frost allegedly punched one of his players in the face right on the bench in the middle of a game.  By the time it got to court, the entire team (including the victim) insisted it never happened.  Bob Goodenow, the former head of the NHLPA, is a complete and utter slime bag if even half of what is in this book is true.  An even greater sin is that someone along the way didn’t stand up to Goodenow and ask him what in the world was going on.  He fast tracked Frost to being an agent when he shouldn’t have been one at all.  I also can’t believe the limits parents will go to in order to try and get their son to the National Hockey League.  I think that’s one thing that, maybe wasn’t intended to shine through in the book, but really shook me. 

I tweeted Simmons on Saturday night, telling him what a great job he did with this story.  Within a short time, I got a message from David Frost, himself, telling me there will be another book released with the ‘true’ story.  He also informed me that he plans on suing Simmons for suggesting a child born to Frost’s wife may actually be, in fact, Danton’s child.  Both Danton and Frost have gone after Simmons pretty hard on Twitter in recent days. 

I commend Simmons for his efforts.  I know what it is like to hit road blocks on a major story that goes beyond sports.  I was over a year just putting together the former Neepawa players piece that came out last week.  I talked to quite a few people that would tell me all kinds of stuff ‘off the record’ and it would, probably, make you throw up if it all came out.  And, the two players that did speak were not comfortable using their names.  So, again…nice work Steve.

Footnote on this story for Junior 'A' fans:  Frost protege Sheldon Keefe is the Coach/GM/President of the Pembroke Lumber Kings.  Larry Barron, who stayed at the Jefferson home once upon a time and was also a Frost disciple, is listed as a minority owner.  Shawn Cation is an assistant coach.  He, too, was mentored by Frost.  With the cloud of uncertainty over these people, would you let your son into the care of these individuals? I wouldn't even for a day.  But, a lot have.  And, not just players hanging on for that final chance.  The Lumber Kings have won the league title all five years that Keefe has been at the head of the helm.  They've also won an RBC Cup.  Simmons says there are rumours Frost and Danton also have fingerprints on the ownership, but nothing has been proven.  Frost is also banned from having anything to do with the league the Lumber Kings play in.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


In the wake of the hazing incident in Neepawa with the MJHL Natives, comes word of other stories involving two former players, who say they couldn’t wait to be shipped out of town.

Some of the stories with regards to how players are treated, fall in line with reports the late-September hazing victim was forced to apologize to his teammates for the matter becoming public.

In the interest of protecting identities, the players are identified as Player A and Player B.

Player A says the coaching staff are too tough on them, mentally.  As of Christmas last year, twelve of the twenty players on the opening night roster were gone.  “It’s mentally stressful.  You go to the rink every day and you aren’t even concerned about being on the ice.  You are wondering about trades, having a strip torn off you, and stuff like that.”

Player B tells an interesting story of having to travel from his hometown in northern Manitoba to take part in a mandatory practice in Brandon.  “It was not optional.  We had to leave our jobs and go.  In order for me to make it, I had to travel all night.  My friend and I practiced all weekend, including on Sunday.  I informed the coach and the Director of Player Personnel that my friend and I can’t miss work.  Their response was that both of our careers were on the line and if we were to leave he couldn’t say what would happen with us.  I pleaded that I’d be tired having practiced all weekend and then having to drive through the night again to make it home and they still told me ‘no’.  I got home Monday morning at 6am and reported for work.”  

Player B says the lack of caring for his personal well being was reversed when the shoe was put on the other foot.  “I make the team and one night I got a call from my sister, who had a family problem and needed money.  It was ten o’clock at night and Winnipeg is two hours away.  So, I phoned to see if it would be okay for me to miss curfew in this situation so I could go and help her out.  I was told that I could not as he didn’t want me driving at night.  It was too dangerous.  If that’s the case, what was he thinking in the summer time when I had to drive ten hours after a weekend of practice?”

Player B says his time in Neepawa was full of mind games and he eventually asked to be traded.  “They told me the team had big plans.  I was told of a big tryout coming as I was on the waiting list for the World Junior tryouts.  I’m not even good enough to play for Team West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.  I don’t know why they thought I’d believe such a story.  But, they said they wanted a guy like Jordin Tootoo and that guy is me.  They fed me a lot of kool-aid and I, eventually, just let it go.”

“As a hockey player, I want to go to the next level and they (Coach and Director of Player Personnel) have power over me when it comes to getting there.  They would say there are scholarships lined up, so you have to stay and play hard.”

Player A said he never knew of a meeting where there wasn’t a witness.  “He’d have either a three way call going on (conference call) or he’d call up the rink guy or get one of his assistants.  He never did anything one-on-one.  I’ve had more than four coaches in my junior career and none of them conduct meetings this way.  I think it should be one-on-one because it’s confidential and you shouldn’t have others standing around listening to your conversation.”

Player B adds, “He (coach) would tell players that he doesn’t want to see one player in the lobby talking to their family after a game.  They can do that in the morning.  He hated parents and girlfriends because he says they take you off your routine.  Some parents would come from a long way away to see their sons.  The coach would still say to us to go straight home.”

Player A (not knowing what Player B had said to me) backed up that statement.  “He’s (Perrier) absolutely controlling.  I would have to go to the office every day and relay messages from him to the other players.  Afterward, I’d be told to re-iterate.  The guys couldn’t see their girlfriends or parents after the game.  They had to go straight home.  Even if parents came from the States, he would tell the guys that if you see your parents after the game, you may as well go home with them.”

“They weren’t even allowed to stay at the billet’s house.  Why?  Beats me.  He claimed that having them there would interfere with the on-ice performance.”

Player A further states, “Messages were very hypocritical.  If something wasn’t going the way it was planned, they will talk your ear off until you believe them.”

Player A says the Network 54 Message Forum is a huge topic with the coaching/management staff.  It’s called ‘Third Party Interference’.  I have done a lot of research on my own and while there are, obviously, anonymous people with axes to grind for their own selfish reasons, there was one very moving post that appeared to have merit.  Heavy research confirmed the post below is, indeed, from a father of a former Neepawa MJHL player.  To this point, the player in question does not wish to come forward to discuss anything further.  But, the fact remains this message was on the forum:

We have had the misfortune of our son playing for Coach Perrier. This coach is the reason we all have to go to numerous certification clinics sponsored by Hockey Canada.

I have been lucky enough to have both him and Cam Dickie on the phone telling me that I had to listen to what they said and that I could not respond to their comments. The antics of these two people are indescribable. As a parent I had over 19 years invested in raising this young man and they were now telling me all of weaknesses and faults and how they were going to help him first become a better person and then a better player.

The news release announcing the signing of my son with Neepawa made statements that were untrue concerning scholarships, etc. Coach Perrier always talks about scholarships, etc and the majority of these statements are false and misleading. Most of the young men who have played with him will confirm this.

He talks about values and morals and standards but his antics during practices and in the dressing room did not substantiate what he was saying.

When my son got traded to Neepawa, the first thing I did was check the coach out. That is easy these days given the internet. The reports and reviews I found on line were a bit alarming regarding his reputation in the west. I talked with several GM's I personally knew and the ones who knew of him did not speak highly of him.

As I look back and see what is going on right now in Neepawa it is not surprising. Coach Perrier is the ultimate control freak and wants to control every aspect of a player's life. He is a promoter who is skilled at using small amounts of truth to ad credibility to what he is doing. His favorite tool is a news release which one week he will be telling us all how great a player is and how he will contribute to the program and then the next week how he didn’t just fit with management’s plans.

I hope the Natives do survive this bump in the road despite Coach Perrier and Cam Dickie. We have kids who have played sports at all levels nationally and internationally and as parents have benefited from the efforts of some of the best coaching and management available. Unfortunately Coach Perrier and Cam Dickie are the two worst that we have experienced.

It would not be fair to only criticize this program. The community of Neepawa was fantastic and Mary Ellen Clarke is the most caring, compassionate person parents could ever want looking after your son. To this day my son still keeps in touch with her and that is really what life is all about. My son's billets were also excellent people whom we trusted explicitly.

Fortunately life is more about the people you meet, the friendships you make and the foot print you leave on life, not how much ice time you get, whether you get to be on the power play or how many points you amass.

At the end of last season, I emailed coach Perrier a number of questions, which he did not answer.  He asked to speak with me on the telephone instead.  Based on the statements of several people I have talked to, I’m not interested in doing a phone interview as I don’t need to be accused of taking words out of context.  I’d rather post a straight forward Q&A and allow the answers to speak for themselves.  To his credit, Perrier seemed friendly and approachable on the phone and asked me to come to Neepawa and see the good work being done with the program.  I have not, at this point, taken him up on his offer.

The President of the team, Dave McIntosh, has been with the organization for a very long time.  I remember having positive dealings with him when I lived in Brandon and covered the team for CKX.  Aside from that, I can’t comment on either Perrier or McIntosh.  

I did have a phone conversation with Cam Dickie that involved him threatening me with a lawsuit, which I can see might be a fairly common practice when statements are made regarding the team that are not favorable.

Dickie was removed from his post as Director Of Player Personnel in December 2010, according to Player A because another player had enough and quit the club.  That player then went to the team’s Board of Directors and gave his version of why he was no longer playing and it was followed by Dickie’s dismissal.  The player did come back and play out the season.  This allegation has not been proven, but is the word of Player A.

The treatment, it seems, isn’t limited to players.  Branden Crowe is a young broadcast journalist at CJVR in Melfort; but he used to be a media member in Brandon.  Looking at being more involved with hockey, he placed a call to inquire about scouting.  “Perrier called and invited me to his office to meet.  When I got there, I knew something wasn’t right.  They sat me down and stood around me in a manner I felt was ‘intimidating’.  They asked me about my blog, which I had to write when I was a Communications Assistant for the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball).  The post, in my opinion, was far from defamatory or vulgar towards the team.  It simply my thoughts on Ed Friesen making the WHL as a 20-year-old.  Perrier then said, “There’s no scouting job and this is not good Crowe.”  Dickie then went on to accuse me of writing negative comments on the Network 54 Forum.  At that point, I didn’t even know the message board existed.  They both went on to threaten me with legal action, saying slander is illegal and they would have none of it.  They also said if I ever wrote anything negative about their team again, I would hear about it and I was threatened with a lawsuit one more time for good measure before I took off.”

My email remains open for any member of the Neepawa Natives to reply.  It’s also available if any former players or players’ families have similar stories and wish to come forward.