Minnesota Strong Arm Tactics

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Minnesota Strong Arm Tactics December 12, 2012 7:40 AM

The Minnesota Junior Hockey League revealed their true colors to the world on Tuesday December 11, 2012.

Under the infinite wisdom of entrenched leadership, the MNJHL took 6 points, and 3 wins away from the Dells Ducks and gave them to the Maple Grove Energy. This move was made after the Energy complained about the Dells Ducks allegedly using two illegal players in one weekend in October.

Even though the Energy had a chance to stop and warn the Ducks before the players took the ice for warm ups, the MNJHL decided to rewward the Energy for what people in law enforcement would call entrapment.

Head Coach of the Energy Don Babineau saw the Ducks lineup prior to any of the three games in question being played. Babineau knew who all the players were and did not warn the Ducks that there may be a dispute. Instead he figured he would take his chances and see if he could win the three game weekend. After getting beat easily by the Ducks in all three games, Babineau then decided to play his hand through the league and file a complaint.

All of these events took place two months ago. Yes, it took the MNJHL two months to fully address a complaint of illegal players.

The problem with the complaint was described in the Minnesota Shakedown article. Everything traces back to illegal rules and practices in the MNJHL that directly contradict USA Hockey rules.

The Ducks may have been the team to loose the points, but in reality three wins were taken from the players that earned them and given to players that did not earn them. The league standings as published are fraudulent in that respect.

The future ramifications of such a move?

The Maple Grove Energy will try to recruit next season using a fraudulent record. They will say they won a certain amount of games and that will be a lie. They will tell players they had fewer losses then they actually had. Those stats will be used to lure players into what many may call a dishonest situation in a league that allows teams to selectively use or not use ethical practices.

Twenty five Ducks players will now leave the MNJHL never to return to the league. Twenty five players from all over the country will spread the word of how poorly the MNJHL treated them. Word will spread within the player community of this action, and the league that was on the rise will once agin begin to sink to the lower levels of Tier III hockey.

Whats more disturbing is that TJHN is in possession of text messages that would implicate Babineau having complete knowledge of one of the alleged illegal players prior to the game being played. TJHN also has text messages from Babineau violating MNJHL rules as they relate to disparaging remarks and potential tampering issues.

Several sources on multiple MNJHL teams have commented off the record because of fines that were recently put in place that do not allow people within the league to speak the truth to the press if the truth would make the league look bad. Yes, they have their own gag order. Thats right, owners, general managers and coaches are not allowed to speak to the press or anyone else if their honest thoughts may shine an unfavorable light on the MNJHL. A rule that completely violates a persons right to freedom of speach.

One Coach commented: "The league is a joke. Its Mickey Mouse, and three people control everything." Another team said; "I am completely embarassed to be a part of this league." Another Coach said; "You cant trust this league to do anything right." Other comments were collected from other sources but were so full of four letter adjectives that they could not be used.

Give the MNJHL credit for thinking ahead and not making this move until the Duck had enough points in the standings. Had the league made the move a week ago the Energy would have moved ahead of the Ducks in the league standings.

According to Head Coach and General Manager Bill Zaniboni the Ducks have already prepared the documentation and will be appealing this move to USA Hockey. Further comments from the Ducks were not available based upon a fear of further league action for stating additional facts that may reflect poorly on the MNJHL.

Wht can the reader take from this story?

The one truth that can not be disputed is that the MNJHL does not care about its customers. The customers are the players paying the bills that keep each team afloat. If a league doesnt care enough about its customers to tell the truth, to be transparent, to follow USA Hockey rules, or to keep its customers informed of rules and actions that may effect them beyond one season; why would anyone care about a league like this?

Speaking to one Ducks parent, "The Ducks are doing everything right in a league that doesnt know how to do anything right. There is no way that we will be back in this league next year and our family will let everyone know what a mess the league is. Our family isnt alone in this, and I think you can count on everyone warning players and parents to stay away from this league."

Is that what you want your customer saying as they leave your store?

By Joseph Kolodziej

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