CHLPA And Randy Gumbley

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CHLPA And The Gumbley’s November 14, 2012 8:24 AM

Life is strange. Sometimes truth is much stranger than fiction.

For a few weeks, the hot CHLPA rumor had Randy Gumbley as the mastermind pulling the strings behind the CHLPA movement. There was Derek Clarke, then Gumbley was accused of being Derek Clarke. Georges Laraque couldnt even identify who Derek Clarke was in photographs. Then some media outlets were saying that Clarke and Gumbley looked very similar. TJHN published photos of Clarke and Gumbley quickly ending that crazy rumor.

For those that dont know, Randy Gumbley is the older brother of Glenn Gumbley, the person who was really behind the CHLPA movement. Randy Gumbley has also had trouble with Canadian Law Enforcement in the past concerning taking funds from players and not following through on proper use of those funds.

Gumbley’s dramatic transformation from little known hockey business owner to hockey pariah, seemed to happen over night. Almost immediately his face was being splashed across the news papers and television. The person who was involved in two relatively minor legal matters was now the subject of incredible scrutiny in Canada and the United States.

But there’s a reason for this, at least thats what Randy Gumbley and the CHLPA are saying. Three years ago, Randy Gumbley filed a $3.5-million lawsuit against Hockey Canada for “anti-competitive behavior.”

The Lawsuit claims there was a plan was to fly about 100 Canadian players to France for a tournament, a tournament that allegedly fell apart on arrival because Hockey Canada officials “communicated with the International Ice Hockey Federation and threatened that there would be sanctions against any players from the European ice hockey teams who participated in the tour/tournament given that the tour/tournament had not been sanctioned by (Hockey Canada), as written in a statement of claim.

Based on the alleged threat of sanctions by Hockey Canada, “the players from the various European ice hockey teams refused to attend” the games, the statement reads.

The alleged interference amounted to “anti-competitive behavior,” and “was designed to assert monopolistic control over the hockey market in Ontario and abroad,” the statement of claim reads.

Hockey Canada denies the allegations, and nothing has been proven in court as of this date.

That legal action, still before the courts, may have made him a marked man by some in Hockey Canada. It certainly helped inspire a vigorous, and what looks to be successful, union busting strategy by the Canadian Hockey League. Hockey Canada officials have declined comment because Gumbley’s lawsuit remains before the courts.

The person behind the CHLPA was, and based upon continuous Twitter arguments still is, Glenn Gumbley.

Glenn Gumbley, is a self described union organizer. He along with about 15 other volunteers across Canada put together the CHLPA. Reports are now surfacing that Glenn sought his brother’s input from time to time. But the CHLPA insists Randy was never a union organizer.

For months, TJHN questioned the motivation for the Union forming. It now appears that initial motivation came from Hockey Canada’s treatment of his brother and slowly evolved into a desire to bring better educational opportunities to junior players who will never wear an NHL jersey.

Unfortunately for the Gumbley brothers, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. TJHN has been asking who "Alex" is. The mysterious person sending emails and making phone calls back in August when TJHN broke the CHLPA story.

Also unfortunate for Glenn Gumbley is the availability of social media accounts like Twitter. Having read the CHLPA Twitter feed, admittedly written by Glenn Gumbley, he only has himself to blame for some of the ridicule now. The arguments between persons being critical of the CHLPA and its statements have baited Gumbley into having public spats with persons expressing their opinions. The arguments are in most cases very child like in content. Although Gumbley did for a while try to be professional he has gotten sucked into some of the dumbest arguments.

From the beginning we questioned all of what the CHLPA was doing. The childish website, the hiring of Laraque, the disorganization, the secret meetings, the phone calls from persons with no last names, and the whole motivation behind the idea.

We understand now why there were so many smoke screens. But what if the CHLPA had just come out and contacted the Canadian Hockey League with its ideas? The ideas certainly provoked many conversations regarding the issue of player education packages. Would the CHL have looked at those ideas, would they have made some changes to how those packages were funded and the time lines in which they were disbursed? David Branch has made some changes when adressing issues of European player education packages recently. Unfortunately we may never know now.

What could have been a very meaningful movement has now turned into a punchline. Unfortunately the punchline isnt one that makes you laugh when you think of what could have been had the organization been done right.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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