Soo Eagles – The Truth Shall Set Them Free

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Personal experience is what opinions are based on in most cases.  Those experiences allow a person to know and understand what makes some people tick, and in this business, how some teams and coaches operate.

I have been sending players to the Soo Eagles since they were brought back to life in 2008.

I was there at the start of the 2010-2011 season when Bruno Bragagnolo took over the team from one of its founders Paul Theriault.  I was there when the Eagles won the 2010-2011 NOJHL Championship, and I called to congratulate Bruno when he won NOJHL Coach of The Year.

I was also there when the Soo Eagles purchased the rights to the Traverse City North Stars in the NAHL, making the switch from the NOJHL to the NAHL in 2012.

Every year, I have attended multiple Soo Eagles try out camps and have attended ever final camp.  I have met the players, the parents, the Eagles entire organization.

Not once have I had any question about how the people I know and work with on a regular basis run the Soo Eagles organization.

Recently an accusation was made that the Soo Eagles were not providing equipment to players.  Bruno Bragagnolo was essentially called a liar in public, and the organization was made to look very bad.

Yesterday I spoke to Coach Bragagnolo and asked him what was going on.  While this call was not intended to be research on a story, I had to write about it today.

Coach Bragagnolo vehemently denies any accusation that he or the team did not supply equipment to players.

The fact is that the team issued a mix of equipment that was purchased this year and last year.  The Eagles were using equipment stock left over from last years purchases that was new.  This is allowed by NAHL rules, and is standard operating procedure for many teams.  All the league requires is that the manufacturer names are “blacked out” when not using current year sponsors equipment.

Should the Eagles dispose of any un-used equipment left over from a prior season?  Yep, lets just throw that stuff in the dumpster.  Or should they continue to work through that stock and replenish as the new season moves on?  Sounds like smart money management to me!

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many Soo Eagle players over the years, and not one of them has ever had a bad word to say about how they are treated by the team.  It is one of the reasons that every Eagles try out camp is ultra competitive and usually sells out.  The reputation of excellence, demanding it from its players, and providing it to its players and fans is what the Soo Eagles are all about.

As for any player who may not be happy with potential trade destinations, oh well, its time for you to grow up and realise that people in this game get traded.  You can’t always pick and choose what you want.

But does an NAHL team have any right to ask for some compensation for a player? Yes.  If a team spends money and time developing a player, they should receive something in return.  Should the compensation be an equal amount of money spent on the player?  No.  The player also performed for the team.  But the team should get something, even if its only a few hundred dollars.  Why?  Because in business when a deal is made, some type of valuable consideration must be exchanged.  It is the most basic principle of trade.  The definition of trade is the transfer of ownership of goods from one person or entity to another by getting something in exchange.

Contrary to what people think, NAHL teams don’t open up their equipment room and say “have at er boys”.  Every team controls equipment distribution because it comes with costs.  The Soo Eagles are no different.  The Soo Eagles are certainly not mistreating any player, if anything, they are giving each and every player equal and better treatment than NAHL rules require .

A pattern of excellence developed over a course of years is the only thing the Soo Eagles know and it is what they will continue to build upon this year.

Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher

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