The Edson Aeros have been a part of the WSHL Canadian division for a few years. Operated by Axel Axmann, all reports during his operations were positive. Nothing negative was reported to us by any players of parents.
That all changed though when a Coach, who is now the subject of an investigation for inappropriate behavior, traded a player who was billeting with what can only be called “emotional super fans”. “Super fan” is a term used within player and management circles to identify those fans who are just a little to intense and over the top when it comes to team politics and other items.
“Super fans” can tend to stick their noses into places where they don’t belong, and quite often they are the cause of big problems off the ice. Everyone who have played, or has worked in high level hockey is nodding their heads right now because we have all seen it.
In this case it turns out that these “billet” parents made completely unfounded accusations of inappropriate behavior between the coach and a player. UNFOUNDED and BASELESS, because I actually have an email from the players parents completely denying anything inappropriate happened.
But the accusations were made because a player the billet parents were housing was traded. Traded against their well voiced opinions. They go angry and decided they would get back at the coach and the team. The billet father even went so far as to attend Edson Aeros games after the trade wearing a jersey from the player and his new team. Childish? Maybe. Super fan behavior? Definitely.
These rumors though, continued to be spread and new ones were created. All with no factual foundation, and no witnesses or complaints made by victims to any authority.
Complaints were made to Axel Axmann, and to the WSHL, and they were fully investigated. But none of the complaints came from players or parents involved. The only complaint made with any substantiation was that the coach yelled too much and swore at players to often.
Axel Axmann did what he was supposed to do. He warned the coach, reprimanded him and spoke to the player and parents. Everything is documented and all emails have been reviewed.
Now, these same “super fans” are working with a rival group to move new franchise owners into Edson and other communities. These same “super fans” are spreading completely unfounded rumors to other cities in order to assist in damaging the WSHL.
Now the damage has gotten serious. Some people just don’t realize their actions can have real life consequences that damage people severely.
Axel Axmann, a Bank Manager was suspended because of these rumors being spread. A highly respected Manager of a Bank was then summarily fired from his job after the suspension. Fired because he employed someone that is subject of an investigation. Not because he did anything wrong.
This is how franchises are killed and lives are ruined.
I have always found it amazing how people who want to be involved in teams, who have no money invested in them, think they are entitled to do what ever they want. In small towns across North America there is always one “super fan” who thinks they know better, or the get offended, or they feel slighted and lash out.
This is what can happen. An upstanding citizen has lost his job because people want to start rumors. Franchises can be lost, and players can miss out on opportunities.
The grass isn’t always greener. Be careful what you wish for.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser