The Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) have seen better days.
The club’s owner and former general manager, Barry Dewar, is facing a one-year suspension, a $10,000 fine and the team has been stripped of four cards. The team’s head coach and Dewar’s son, Johnathan, has been suspended for 20 games.
“We discovered the irregularity right after the Kamloops Storm Prospect Camp [on] July 6-8. Now, carded players from other teams can skate with another team as long as written approval is given. This didn’t happen and the parent told Kamloops they were carded with another team – this didn’t seem to bother the Kamloops general manager. The players thought that making the change to Kamloops would work better for their home life,” said Larry Martel, the president of the Doug Birks Division in the KJIHL and the person handling all media in this case. “Roster spits were offered to the players in Kamloops. All communications really need to go through the team’s management and not players and parents.”
“I think the league has been irresponsible on how they have handled the whole situation,” he added.
He will be appealing BC Hockey’s ruling.
Brad Fox, the owner of the Chase Heat, declined to comment.
Dale Hladun, 100 Mile House Wranglers general manager and head coach, thinks differently.
“In my opinion, it’s about time. That’s how I feel,” he said. “The Kamloops guy [Dewar] is shady as they come. I’ve been in this league as long as he has and over the years it’s been painful. Barry knows better and I think his attitude was: ‘I never got caught before, I might as well keep doing it.’ I’m glad he got caught.”
Tom Bachynski, president of the Wranglers, said it was good to see BC Hockey standing up to these situations and that it has gone unabated for years.
Martel said that Dewar is convinced he did nothing wrong and that they have been talking for eight weeks, with Dewar failing to explain his side of the story.
It’s not a unique situation to the KIJHL or amateur hockey. Hladun said he expected a similar situation will happen soon to a team and coach he refused to name in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
“I can’t say who until it’s official but the guy would phone my kids right in the dressing room,” he said.
Hladun also had words about the coaching situation in Kamloops, particularly how it was announced that Jassi Sangha would take over as head coach of the team on Aug. 27.
However, Johnathan was made the official head coach in order to take on the 20-game suspension so Sangha would not be.
“It’s kind of unique too because the head coach is supposed to get suspended, suddenly his [Dewar’s] head coach is his son. His son has never coached. His son sold popcorn between periods, so Barry again, circumvents the thing and puts his son as the head coach who has to serve the suspension, alright, whatever,” said Hladun.