Ed McCormack is an honorable man. In my conversations with him, he has always been forthright and honest about his goals for players and for his franchise.
Its unfortunate in many ways that Ed McCormack made the decision to have the West Michigan Freeze go dark this year, but in many respects it was also the right thing to do.
Forced into a very late start, announcing the team with barely 60 days to prepared for the upcoming season, the Freeze were behind every other team in player recruiting. Not having the ability to scout players for an entire summer made it nearly impossible to recruit. While they made their best efforts, and were able to assemble a partial roster, it became clear that filling the roster completely was not going to take place.
McCormack informed TJHN on Monday that he was going to make the decision to go dark this year and look to revive the franchise for the 2014-2015 season.
At the same time he informed TJHN that he would look to place all of the players with teams that would offer a fair opportunity to compete at the Tier III level. McCormack has done just that.
In less than 24 hours all but two players have been placed and those remaining two players have offers from other teams.
Tier III junior hockey is supposed to be about the players. It is supposed to be about development and the opportunity to move up. Making the decision was hard, but McCormack fulfilled his obligation to the players by providing opportunity through other teams. He did not sit and wait for fate to determine what happened, he took control of his franchises fate and made things happen.
While this is a blow to the team, it is also a statement about leadership.
The leadership McCormack has shown by making this move on his own shows that he can lead a franchise and make the hard decisions. When looking for leaders, its easy to pick one who does well in good times, its much harder to find them when hard decisions must be made for the sake of others success.
Look for McCormack to be back in junior hockey next season.
TJHN will have more information concerning other MWJHL teams as stories develop.