Let this be a cautionary tale to everyone………
I have debated writing this for a long time. Why? Well basically because I am generally not one to air our dirty laundry and I was wanting to avoid the “I told you so’s” and the backlash my kid my get from peers for writing it.
However, we have a HUGE hockey family who I care for dearly. A hockey family that may or may not find themselves in the same situation we have found ourselves in and I feel as though our story could help them in making a decision for their own children. The children I watched growing up playing hockey together, children I feel are part of my family and feel a need to inform.
Now, before reading I need you to know, there are generally three sides to every story. What you are about to read is OUR side of the story. Our recall of events and Our interpretation of what happened. My words to my hockey family, and any other family reading this is to do your own research. Make your own decisions and as always, do what YOU feel best for you and yours.
Keegan wanted more. More from hockey than what he was currently receiving. Anyone who has met my kid, or follows me on social media, knows my child eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. He wants to go as far as he can holding a hockey stick and standing on skates. This year he decided he wanted to see what was out there in addition to his local hockey league so he set on a mission.
He looked into various teams and various leagues to see what camps were where and what was available to him. He ended up receiving a call from the Coach of the New Tecumseth Civics, Dennis. Dennis wanted Keegan to come skate with them. In fact, on the first call he offered Keegan a spot on the GMHL Junior A team. As any 17 year old kid that lives for the game would be, Keegan was over the moon excited and wanted to jump at the chance.
I however, was not as ready.
The research started. I was told great things, and not so great things about the GMHL league from various people. I am not one to listen to others solely, however take into account what everyone says in order to make a decision that best suits our family. I then scheduled a phone call with the coach personally.
During the first phone call with Dennis (The coach) I described my fears to him. Questioned how he could offer a spot to Keegan without him even skating with them first, Ice time for my kid, telling Dennis myself that Keegan has NEVER played this caliper of hockey before and that I understand that he may not play EVERY game however I was aware that it was a pay for play team and I was not prepared to pay the amount of money they were asking for my child to sit on a bench. I was promised that Keegan would play, he would never be traded to another team and that they were looking forward to molding Keegan to be an even more exceptional hockey player.
Although I was hesitant and weary of the GMHL, you have to understand. The passion my child holds for hockey and me as a mother seeing that, I will do anything I POSSIBLY can to support him and what he wants to do. We agreed that if this is what Keegan wanted to do, we would support him.
I received the first contract from the coach. The amount of money on that first contract was INSANE and my heart dropped. You see, I am the only person paying for his hockey this year. Me and me alone and it was an INSANE amount of money. I told Keegan there was NO WAY we could afford that as a family. He was shattered.
Low and behold, Keegan and I spoke to the coach and arranged a deal that took the registration cost down to half. They were willing to work with us as they wanted Keegan a part of the team. Our cost was brought to $4500 for the season. Still INSANE amount however it covered a ton of things and we set out on a payment plan to make this happen for my son. I knew going into this I couldn’t afford it on my own however, I would make it work.
Our family suffered and sacrificed this year. The other 3 children were told no a lot. We can’t afford it etc because I was making payments towards Keegan’s Hockey. As a family we support each other, although they were disappointed, they understood and knew we would do the same for them if it was needed, so we made due.
Keegan drove over an hour one way EVERY day to ensure he was at practice. I don’t think he missed one practice the entire time he was part of the team. When it comes to hockey, dedication and commitment is an understatement for the boy.
He was happy. He was on the ice EVERY SINGLE day. Learning. Growing. Embracing the “Junior A style” of hockey and LOVING EVERY MINUTE of it. He was able to travel to Quebec with the team and felt as though he fit in. Every 17 Year old Hockey players dream!
This is when it gets a bit sketchy.
I made my last installment payment to The New Tec Civics. in and around October 20th. About a week later my child was called into the Coach’s office for a talk. He was told at this meeting that they are “Building a championship team” and being as Keegan was not one of the strongest players on the team and a rookie, he probably wouldn’t be getting ice time going forward. Dennis acknowledged to Keegan at that time that he said he would never trade Keegan however he may want to look into a trade being as he would most likely not play many games going forward. Keegan was broken. He felt as though he had to choose between sitting on the bench with a team he loved to be a part of, or take a trade to a new team to be able to play the game.
With the options presented to him, Keegan took the trade to Fergus Force on November 11th.
On November 19th (yup 8 days later) my son who had played two games with Fergus force (Still drove over an hour EVERY DAY for practice) was told the team was folding. FOLDING. There would be NO MORE Fergus Force.
Why take my son if you knew you were going to fold 8 DAYS LATER?
Keegan was once again broken. All he wants to do is play hockey. So here he is left with NO team. I am left paying an insane amount of money and no team. It was horrendous.
We found out Keegan’s “rights” went back to the Civics and that was were he was to go back.
Go back to what? A team he was told he wouldn’t be playing any games for because they needed to have the more experienced players on the ice to develop the championship team.
I have contacted the GMHL, The CIVICS and the Fergus FORCE in attempt to receive SOME of my money back. I acknowledge that Keegan played for a bit HOWEVER with the circumstances I felt I deserved SOME money back for registration.
Here is where we stand at the current moment —Fergus Force is not responsible for refund as money paid was to the Civics,. Fergus did not receive any funds from me.
GMHL – NO return emails or phone calls.
Civics—- Well, The coach has returned my last email with telling me to “just let Keegan come back to the civics and case closed” as well as “I’m done now. I’m the coach, you can deal with the owners now. The owners have been in this league for 12 years and they get
this kinda situation every year. That’s why they write that in the
contract. So it’s an up hill battle for you. Keegan has a place to
play if he wants to come back. That’s all i can say.”
Owner of Civics – Has NOT returned Emails, text messages or phone calls.
I do NOT believe our family has been treated properly. I made it EXTREMELY clear from the beginning that we could NOT afford this and that my child JUST wants to GROW and play hockey.
My words to other hockey moms, dads, and kids. PLEASE do research. (We did SO much research and STILL ended badly). Be cautious. Get EVERYTHING In writing.
I am more than HAPPY to discuss what has happened to our family in greater detail to ANYONE that is needing some info. Just reach out to discuss.
All I ever want is my child to follow his dreams, live his passion and go after what ever his heart desires. Even with the bad taste in my mouth towards this situation, I will FOREVER support The boy and his love for hockey.