An unfair and unforgiving reprimand

By Kris Kotarski

Taking responsibility for your actions is the one true measure of a human being. It is not the inevitable mistakes that make us unique, but how we choose to handle them. The way we deal with our imperfections determines our worth.

Last weekend, three players from the Mount Royal College Cougars hockey team were in a Vancouver hotel after a pre-season road trip. They got drunk and caused a disturbance. This was one of their inevitable mistakes, the same ones we all make day after day. Because of their actions, the hockey players got suspended–one of them for the duration of the season. They also got banned from attending their team’s games. They accepted this punishment and did not complain. They’re even personally paying the hotel fees of the other guests they disturbed–a noble deed since these are college students and they’re not exactly rich.

The only complaint from these players is that their coach, Wayne Andrews, got suspended along with them. The Athletic Director of Mount Royal College, Mark Kosak, saw it fit to suspend Andrews for seven games for not properly supervising his players.

This is a travesty.

How can one man be responsible for the actions of his entire team? How can a hockey coach be expected to keep tabs on his entire 28-man roster?

Furthermore, is Andrews a coach or a babysitter? If he’s a babysitter, then he should lock all his players in a room and sit outside in the hallway until they all fall asleep. That’s the only way to make sure his entire team behaves.

Andrews did nothing wrong. He treated his players like adults and got suspended because three of his players defied team rules and got caught. The players stood up for their actions and accepted a draconian punishment, which denied one of them an entire season. Andrews accepted his punishment too, but he shouldn’t have. It was the player’s fault that they got drunk. Andrews was in his room sleeping, a perfectly normal thing to do in the middle of the night.

If MRC is so strict with their rules, then why was Andrews the only one there to supervise his boys? He was on his own for the duration of the road trip. No help was offered by Kosak or anyone else.

There is nothing abnormal about players sitting in their hotel rooms drinking beer. There is nothing abnormal about players chasing girls and having fun. This happens all the time, regardless of team or sport. There is also nothing abnormal about players getting loud and rowdy or getting caught. The abnormality is that one man was asked to not only babysit a roster full of adults, but also to take responsibility for their misconduct.

To eliminate future embarrassment for the college, Kosak should implement the following rule: If the coach is responsible for his team on the road, the parents should be
responsible their children at home. If the players get rowdy after a game in Calgary, their parents should be banned from watching the games too.

How does a quarter of the season sound? That’s what Andrews got.

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