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The Death Pool – A Warning In The Words Of A GMHL West Parent

These are the words of a GMHL West parent. Identifying information has been removed. Any person even thinking about the GMHL West as an option, should be reading these words, and is now again warned in advance, now you be the judge;

According to the 2022-23 Player Agreement, (Burns Lake Timbermen)

Tuition Fee of $10,000.00 CDN Dollars, (Kitimat saax local players paid $3000.00)

Player Club Fee deliverables include:

Regular Season Games;

Four on ice practices per week or where schedule permits;

Dry land/weight training, and other athletic training sessions; (This did NOT happen)

Team video training; (did NOT happen)

Gym pass; (players were not allowed in the gym without the team as per front desk at complex, and the team went a couple times with no trainer and they had no instruction what to do or how to do it safely)

Bus transportation to and from all games; (the bus… they did have bus transport at the end of the season for 3 trips, 1 to Mackenzie and 2 to Kitimat. Burns Lake to Mackenzie is 410 km, Burns Lake to Kitimat is 404 km. The bus had very little heat (coming from a space heater run by an inverter) on 2 trips and zero heat on the last trip to Kitimat at -15 degrees) The window was frozen open and the door was kept open at every stop for cigarette breaks. How did he get to the rest of the games? Many of us took turns driving our sons, with no reimbursement from the team.

Road trip meals; (players were provided with a meal after each away game from the opposing team, but never received meals on the road OR at the overnight away trip. He used my money on every trip and ended up having to get breakfast from the 7-11 next door at times. The bus would stop at gas stations and McDonalds while travelling)

Use of hockey equipment and gear, see detailed breakdown below; and

Dedicated team dressing room. (which was not always secured so my son had his stick broke, the teams gear was stacked up in the shower and someone turned it on and all their gear was soaked, and was seldom clean.)

Community Service:

Player will attend all team fuctions and community services as required by coaching staff and management. (players were told to be at functions but didn’t always attend the very few functions that happened)


Player Equipment

*Equipment provided for use:

Pant Shell;

Track Suit and Ballcap;

Exercise t-shirt and shorts;

Jersey; (1 provided, GMHL Policies and Procedures states the team needs 1 dark and 1 light, home and away)

Practice Jerseys;

Team Bags; (received half way through season)

Gym Bag; (did not receive)

Pair of practice socks and home and away game socks; and (only ever received 1 pair of home socks)

Weekly ration of stick and hockey tape. (Players given 1 roll of black stick tape and 2 clear hockey tape every week or 2 for the first 6 weeks and after that did not get any more.)


Team pays all costs when on the road including pre-game meals (where applicable), post-game meals and accommodation. Travel is bus unless flights are needed and if so, they are included. (Meals…. the only meal provided was the after game meal provided by opposing team. Players paid for their own meals.

Accommodation… Slept on a (Kitimats) bus in Chetwynd when they played against Tumbler Ridge on a Friday night and Mackenzie on the Saturday night. A few boys pooled money and grabbed a hotel room and some boys on the bus had no blankets or pillow. Lets not forget we are in the North and it is winter. The bus had to stay in Chetwynd because of weather and roads and the driver kept the bus running while they slept. On the last road trip to Mackenzie for a double header, boys slept in a hotel room on the floor with a travel blanket and pillow as no other bedding was supplied. There was 1 bed and 3, 15 year old boys. 2 boys slept on the floor. For our last road trip to Kitimat, I got us a room with 3 beds and am glad we stayed, as there was an accident that occured on the highway minutes prior to a car full of our boys travelling home. The road was closed for 6 or more hours.


“…reminds all players that they are “Local Sports Heroes” and MUST always conduct themselves accordingly (both on and off the ice).”

“NO illegal drug use or alcohol consumption will be tolerated. Alcohol is only permitted for those 18 years old when sanctioned by the coach”

“Please make certain that you are an appropriate role model for the town of Burns Lake”

From what our family has witnessed, I would say that this was not happening. I will not go into detail, but we do have video proof, as well witnessed some bad behaviour from some players and the coach.

Onto the Next Document…


(could not find 2021/22)


Anyone affiliated with the league or member hockey clubs shall not possess, use, or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs while participating within GMHL operations or events.

I have already touched on this previously.


League representatives, game officials, athletes, hockey club staff must work together with a high grade of respect and work ethic to ensure a positive experience and professional environment.

From what I saw, there were many times athletes and coach did not demonstrate this. I saw the coach break his stick at a charity game in front of a very large home crowd. The next charity game he argued profusely with the other team over a call and looked to be out of control. As a home town girl it was embarrassing to say the least. Athlete was witnessed drinking in the stands of a home game (the athlete was from the opposing team and standing right beside me) Athletes vaping on the bench during practice. Athletes sitting on the ice using their phone during practice.



All teams must book transportation through a licensed/insured commercial carrier. Acceptable carriers are coach bus, activity bus or school bus. No other form of transporting players is acceptable. any exceptions must be approved in writing by the league commissioner or president.

I did not know this rule and I, and others drove him and other kids to away games. It was either we drive our son or he could ride in the “rocket”. The rocket is the owners car that was lent to the team. It has been unreliable at times and being driven by players on our “class a” highways. Or, he could travel with the coach in his relic truck that at times did not have a drivers side window and had marijuana packages on the floor(witnessed by many), as well he is a smoker. Again, I talked about the bus situation previously.

Videotaping Games

I believe the Timbermen have 3 full games uploaded to youtube. The rest of the home games, were live streaming them onto FaceBook through the Timbermen FaceBook Page.

Minimum Players

“All team’s must have a minimum of 12 players including goalies to start a game. Players may not be loaned to other teams unless a formal request is sent into the league….”

We have played many a game with less than 12 players. As well, players have been loaned out to Mackenzie and Kitimat. Both Mackenzie and Kitimat have loaned out up to 5 players per game to the Timbermen.

Hockey Uniforms

“… All teams must have 2 sets of jerseys – a white home and a dark coloured one.”

We have 1 dark Jersey with 1 pair of dark socks.

Team Staff

“Owners are responsible for the staff they hire. Their actions and comments are representing your company. Your staff may be suspended and removed from the GMHL if they do not follow coaches/owners code of conduct”

Interesting choice of coach…. Did our coach attend the GMHL coach’s seminar? Is he GMHL certified?


What trainers? We do not have one….

General Managers

Our coach is also our GM


“All volunteers must have a vulnerable sector police check on file with your team”

No one was never told to get one….


We can’t even send our team as we don’t have enough kids to ice a full team.

Special Events

“Teams are only allowed to play other GMHL teams that are on the GMHL schedule. A special events application must be completed and approved by the GMHL insurance provider”

We had 2 charity games, not sure if they were approved.


Article 3

3.1 To provide an exceptional skill development program for all players from 15 years of age to 20 years of age;

When the coach is not on the ice or bench during practice, how can these kids get any development?

3.4 To encourage and promote the ideals of character, dedication, and perseverance in the sport;

Many parents attended practices often to watch and most of the time there was only 3-6 kids attending. The coaches son, the goalie, put skates on at practice 2 times in the past 3 weeks and is a “starting goalie”. There was an instance where some of the kids showed up late due to a player refusing to go pick these boys and kids who showed up early, were told they would be “bag skating” for the rest of the practice. That was the day my son called me and took him home to my house and did not bring him back for the next day practice. I was then asked if my son had quit. He did not. He just needed a break from it all.

Some team mates have been ignorant, the coach rude, and it seems like players are punished because they stand up for themselves and speak their mind. Many parents have logged countless hours this season on the highways, packing kids to games, feeding kids and supporting this organization.

Thank You for listening to my experience,

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