Minor hockey asked for do-over

Parents are concerned that a Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey executive suspension means six coaches are unable to coach. - Don Bodger/file
Parents are concerned that a Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey executive suspension means six coaches are unable to coach.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

Suspended Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey officials have been asked to properly redo a controversial election if they want their suspensions lifted.

Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association officers revealed the findings of their investigation to the suspended Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association executive committee Thursday night.

“The officers have found they did act contrary to sections of their bylaws, some of them not so crucially important,’’ said VIAHA president Jim Humphrey.

“The biggest one is the appointment of the president. That seems to be what this is all about.’’

Dan Hawthorne resigned as president Dec. 30, 2013, citing a lack of time necessary to commit to the demands of the position. A new president was appointed Jan. 13, but the VIAHA officers determined Robert’s Rules of Order were not followed, among other procedural irregularities.

One of the most contentious issues involved the vote for president being done under “extenuating circumstances.’’ That suggests no one on the executive qualified with the one year’s experience required, but the VIAHA officers determined there were committee members who met this criteria.

Among the other significant findings of the VIAHA officers were: the vote to fill the president’s position was done with a show of hands rather than by a ballot; there was not a call for nominations for the position of president within the executive committee; one member was allowed to be involved in the meeting by electronic means while other absent executive members weren’t granted the same privilege, contrary to the Society Act; and the appointed president has never sat on the CVMA executive nor taken SpeakOut or Respect In Sport as required by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada.

The appointment of president Jim Larson was ruled out of order and null and void by the VIAHA officers as a result of their findings.

“I guess it’s going to be up to them what they want to do,’’ said Humphrey in advance of Thursday’s meeting. “If they want to appoint a president, they’ll have to redo it and do it the right way.’’

In order to use the extenuating circumstances clause, the VIAHA officers’ decision pointed out, nominations must first be sought from CVMHA members who are currently on the board or have been on the board previously and served at least one year on the executive committee in some capacity.

“I’m hopeful once they get the findings, they’ll say, ‘we accept that,’’ said Humphrey. “That’s all we’re asking — if you want to appoint a president, do it right. It’s as simple as that.’’

Some of the suspended executive members are also coaches who have been prevented from guiding their teams until the matter is resolved.

Hockey parents Chad and Tammy Gurski said any perceived irregularities at the executive level have little to do with coaching and urged VIAHA to let the coaches coach the kids who look up to them.

“Do the right thing and reinstate the coaches of over 100 children back before we lose more volunteers,” they wrote in a letter to the News Leader Pictorial.

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