In spite of Friday night’s loss, the Nelson Leafs gained a couple points this week, improving their standing, even if temporarily, in the Neil Murdoch Division.
This after it was discovered the Kelowna Chiefs had an ineligible trainer, Gord Lorenz, when the team played against the Leafs during the Sept. 11 season opener, when the Leafs lost 3-0. This has translated into two more points for Nelson and one for Castlegar.
Kelowna Chiefs head coach Jason Tansem said having an ineligible trainer on their bench for that weekend resulted in two points being taken away from their win in Nelson and one point taken away from a tie on Sept. 12 in Castlegar.
“We thought we had ‘temporary approval’ from BC Hockey until we returned home but unfortunately that wasn’t the case,” said Tansem, adding all the documentation was in place on Friday but it wasn’t approved until Monday, which was too late.
“It is very unfortunate as really a trainer has no outcome on the game.”
KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen echoed the coach’s sentiment but added “the rules are the rules,” citing a portion of the league’s constitution. He said the process is spelled out and uniform for all coaches, managers, trainers and players, who all must file with the Hockey Canada registry and confirm their approval.
“It’s to protect the players,” said Ohlhausen, explaining many players are under 18. All coaches, managers, and the like must go through a criminal records and vulnerable persons check.
Ohlhausen said the Kelowna Chiefs assumed that filing the documents meant it was approved but that is not always the case.
“You know what they say about ‘assume’,” he said.
He explained there can be processing delays simply because an applicant has the same name and initials as someone else. But Ohlhausen reiterated it is still up to each team to assure their documentation has been approved by Hockey Canada, not just filed.
“A couple of years ago Hockey Canada used to print off all the paperwork before each game and it got to be too much so now it’s up to the individual teams.”
But Tansem said the criminal records check was done, which can be backed up with email correspondence with BC Hockey in Victoria the morning of Sept. 11.
Tansem asked: “Is it possible to approve Gord to be on the bench this weekend pending receiving this original next week?” with a scan of Lorenz’s criminal record check attached. Close to 3 p.m. that afternooon, BC Hockey asked for a copy of the second page.
“We will need to see that to be able to consider temporary approval.” read the 2:54 p.m. email. Tansem sent the second page 25 minutes later.
As for confirming approval, Tansem said he didn’t have access to the Internet after leaving the Castlegar hotel at 4 p.m. that day, adding it is up to the home team to supply a printed copy of the Hockey Canada record when they provide the score sheet to be filled out.
“Both Nelson and Castlegar neglected to supply us with a copy,” said Tansem. “We take great pride in our team’s reputation.”
That being said, the approval did go through two days later.
How was it caught? Someone alerted Hockey Canada.
“Some people are into other people’s business,” said Ohlhausen. “Whether it be a new coach or something else, it happens every year to start.”
The Leafs felt a similar sting last season when it was discovered one of their players was incorrectly carded. Head coach Dave McLellan wouldn’t comment on the situation other than to say this wasn’t the way the Leafs want to gain points.
Chiefs general manger Grant Sheridan told the Star McLellan has been “very supportive,” and that he and the Nelson Leafs had nothing to do with the protest.
“He has been excellent and was the first person to call me directly after the ruling came down,” said Sheridan.