Monday, 8 August 2022

I'm Gonna Pass

It's the middle of August which is usually time to start mentally preparing for exhibition hockey, examining rosters for changes, and figuring out which games can be attended. There normally aren't major international tournaments in which one should invest a lot of time, but the IIHF is still trying to finish off the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Honestly, I have zero interest in this tournament at this time of year and after everything that has been happening within Canada's hockey governing body, so let's make a business decision here: I won't be watching the tournament.

August is not the month that I normally associate with the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. While it may be a nice change to be able to barbecue and sit on patios to watch this event, that's not how we do hockey in this part of the country when it comes to a tournament normally played during the Christmas holiday season and into the following new year. I wasn't a fan of the NHL playoffs in the bubble over the summer, and I'm sitting in the same position with this tournament as my wont to watch is as close to zero as one can get.

Besides the above paragraph where I'm not mentally prepared for the tournament, the bigger elephant in the room still exists in that Hockey Canada, after making promises to the Canadian government and the Canadian public, still has only had one person resign, step down, or otherwise forfeit his or her position within Hockey Canada. Even as new allegations mount with the 2003 Canadian junior team, everyone who held a title at Hockey Canada still holds his or her title. That simply is unacceptable, and my lack of supporting this tournament will reflect my disappointment in how they've governed themselves in the face of all their failures.

While this seems like a harsh stance, I would have less of a problem if this tournament was happening elsewhere on the planet where another hockey association was benefitting from the tournament on their soil. If Finland or Sweden had been hosting this August edition of the tournament, I'd be more inclined to cover the tournament's happenings simply because Hockey Canada doesn't benefit as much.

And let's be honest: Canada is always going to be a favorite at the tournament so there's always a chance at the glory that comes with winning a gold medal, but having it played elsewhere means Hockey Canada isn't taking a cut of the profits. Hitting a corrupt organization in the pocketbook should never not be an option.

Does this lack of coverage hurt other teams? We need to remember that I'm just some blog in the internet wilderness. I'm not the Canadian Press, TSN, CBC, Sportsnet, or any other major media outlet, so HBIC's decision not to cover the tournament really isn't going to bring down the tournament in any way. I get this, and I'm very aware that my lack of attention won't even cause a blip on the radar for Hockey Canada.

However, this is about principles. I have spoken out repeatedly about my disgust in how Hockey Canada has behaved, and I do believe that actions speak louder than words. If I'm not going to support Hockey Canada until wholesale changes are made, I'm certainly not going to support an event that puts money in Hockey Canada's pockets either. If I'm going to talk the talk, I'd better be willing to walk the walk no matter how long that walk may be.

I honestly hope that Finland, Sweden, the US, Czechia, Slovakia, Germany, and Latvia have incredible tournaments. I do wish success for this current crop of Canadian players, but I seriously want the logo on the front of their jerseys to fail in ways only companies like Enron, Worldcom, AIG, and Bear Stearns have experienced.

If Hockey Canada's bottom line takes a serious hit thanks all their sponsors abandoning them combined with incredibly low ticket sales, someone will have to answer for this at Hockey Canada. And perhaps that the first step in cleaning house when it comes to Canadian hockey's governing body.

Enjoy the tournament if you're watching, but HBIC won't be posting stories or highlights from the event unless there's some massive earth-shattering news that happens. Winning a gold medal isn't one of those stories unless it's Latvia or Slovakia who upset the tournament, so don't expect me to celebrate the winner, especially if it's Canada.

Until there are major changes at the top of Hockey Canada, every gold medal brought home at the IIHF World Junior Championship will be tainted with lies, cover-ups, payoffs, and abhorrent behaviour. I'd like to think we're better than that when it comes to our national sport in this country, but it seems Hockey Canada disagrees with me.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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