Will someone bang the gong already? The MWJHL continues to embarrass itself and the game of hockey as it limps along to the start of the 2013-2014 season. You just can’t make these stories up unless you have the wildest of imaginations.
Briefly covering the history of the MWJHL…..First they say they will play with 16 teams, then they end up finishing with 8 teams and 3 of them are playing out of the same arena last season. One team plays in practice jerseys, and a few teams never achieved a full roster. Meanwhile the league went through a few presidents and commissioners, all of whom owned at least one team in the league.
Now you have a Coach as the Commissioner, teams moving, teams switching leagues, a team getting suspended, Owner on public assistance, and a new team pops up with less than 90 days to prepare for the season. You would think that would be enough for anyone to handle right? No. It gets even better.
Deveri Del Core, suspended Owner of the suspended Holland River Bandits is now trying to place players with other MWJHL teams. I spoke to a player on Wednesday, and am in receipt of an email from the new team Owner of the West Michigan Freeze where he admits he got player information from Del Core. Del Core, being suspended is not supposed to be doing anything concerning AAU teams.
If that is not enough, the Owner of the Freeze, when contacting a player was informed by the player that he was going to play for and signed with a team in the WSHL. The conversation should have ended immediately. Instead, the Freeze Owner continued to talk for more than 10 minutes about how the player could get out of the WSHL contract and that he should play for the Freeze. This is the purest definition of tampering you can find.
Stranger still, Del Core has some questions to answer now. Current and former partners in the River Bandits want to know what has happened to nearly $12,000.00 in equipment that has disappeared from The Edge Arena in Holland. The equipment, TJHN has an inventory, was purchased from the now defunct Chicago Express by two former partners, Del Core never paid for the equipment and there is a promissory note signed by Del Core that is in default for payment on the equipment.
Sorry, but no it doesn’t end there. Del Core can also not account for thousands of dollars removed from the teams bank accounts. Recently taking out a “cash back” of $18.66 at a local store in Illinois when finding money was still left in the team account. Does this sound like someone who should be owning a junior hockey team in any league?
Trying to clean up Del Core’s mess is Mike Chighisola. Say what you want about Chighisola’s past, but the man has been doing everything he can to make a clean exit. When the MWJHL finally refunded $1600.00 in league dues that was paid by the team, he used the money to repay sponsors that gave the team money. He has stayed in Holland to finish building a dressing room that he committed to building even though the team will never use it.
What does he get for his efforts? Del Core called the police on him. She wanted the police to collect the $1600.00 refund check and give it to her. I wonder if that money would have been kept in storage along with the missing equipment.
Enough about Del Core for now.
The Alpena Street Cats are not having an easy time recruiting. This was expected by most in the hockey world. What was not expected was the Street Cats signing of a local female player. Gimmick, or are they that desperate? I have seen the girl play and while she is good, she can not compete at the junior hockey level.
Back to the Freeze; playing out of a recreational rink that can seat roughly 200 is not the best way to start. That is a clear indication that building the team is based solely on tuition from players. While Walker arena is a nice place for open skating, it is not a facility or community that will financially support the team.
Three out of eight teams in the MWJHL are not in a position to move forward in any way that could be considered responsible.
A fourth team, the Traverse City Hounds will not be playing all of their home games at Centre Ice in Traverse city as touted on their website. Better still, sources are reporting the Hounds have been signing players without having seen them skate. This is the same team being coached by the MWJHL commissioner.
All is not bad for the MWJHL though. There are some decent people in the league who simply dont have any other options this year. Perhaps some of them need to pick up the phone and call the Marquette Royales and see if the Minnesota Junior Hockey League has room for 2014-2015.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher