A dark day for minor hockey

UPDATE (12/20/2010): Sanity prevails.Shinny Hockey the Austrian Way

The following is an open letter I sent to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association following the suspension of Coach Greg Walsh of Peterborough. Coach Walsh pulled his team off the ice after hearing racist slurs directed at two of his players. The Toronto Star has the details of the suspension.

I’d like to make it clear that while I”m a coach and member of the board of directors of the Ottawa Centre Minor Hockey Association, I’m writing this letter as an individual and the opinions expressed are mine.

Dear OMHA officials,

I’ve been a minor hockey coach since 2003 and I can say in no uncertain terms that I have never been more embarrassed to be part of the minor hockey community than I am today.

The decision to suspend Coach Walsh for the season sends absolutely the wrong message to the kids who displayed exactly the same sort of team spirit and sense of respect that we are supposed to be cultivating in them.

I understand that you dealt with the racist slur incident to the best of your ability. And I understand that Coach Walsh was automatically suspended for the next game as a result of his actions. But the decision to issue supplemental discipline – entirely optional supplemental discipline – is an affront to the values that we as mentors and role models are supposed to uphold.

You had the opportunity to take a stand this week; to send a clear message that not only will racist and hateful acts not be tolerated in our sport but that those who are brave enough to stand up in the face of such acts will be supported and rewarded. You failed. And in so doing you failed every single coach, volunteer and player that believes that the arena should be a safe place for everyone.

Shame on you.

Joe Boughner

Creative Commons License photo credit: rpeschetz


  1. Joe,
    I fully support and respect your stand on this issue.
    Your letter was fair, but firm and very professional. I hope that there are more coaches like yourself that will take the time to voice their displeasure with this issue.
    Thank you for helping to grow the game we love in a respectful manner!
    .-= Hey, you should check out Tyler´s last blog ..Buying Great Hockey Posters =-.

  2. I agree completely with you. The disciplinary actions for the player were insignificant compared to those of the coach who was trying to set an example and protect and educate his team on what is right…as a good coach should.
    I am saddened by the actions against this coach. He may deserve some sort of obligatory slap on the hand, but a year suspension? This was a demonstration of morals…and in this case, he who takes action loses – big time.

    So disappointing.

    I am embarrassed for my sport too.

    I hope the OMHA realizes that they overdid it and eliminate the additional suspension…we can only hope they see the light.

  3. My email’s gone. If others are interested:

    Richard Ropchan, Executive Director: rropchan@omha.net
    Mark Dickie, Manager, Communications: Mark.dickie@omha.net,
    Wayne Pries, Board Chair: wpries@omha.net,
    Peterborough Minor Hockey Association: pmharegistrar@yahoo.ca

    According to the PMHA web site, they have been supporting Greg Walsh in this, so don’t flame them!
    .-= Hey, you should check out Bob LeDrew´s last blog ..2011 is the year of the Stephen King Challenge! =-.

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