The Good Liar is not only the coaches who lie to players and parents in the recruiting process. There are more Parents who lie to teams than there are coaches lying to players and parents.
Every year we hear stories of players leaving teams because parents are not happy with playing time, or with lack of “call up”, or with billet housing. Usually though the most common complaint from teams is that parents leave and break pay to play contracts for reasons that I just mentioned, and usually those reasons are unfounded.
The funny part about this is that teams have a right to hold parents to those contracts, and they put those players on financial suspension. That is the best tool USA Hockey has come up with to protect teams from parents who jump from team to team every year because every team seems to break the same promise to them.
So on that note, let me tell you a true story as it happened this year. This will show you the great lengths some people will go to avoid, or try to get out of their signed contract.
A player signed a contract in July to play for a team. He reported, and played in some pre season games. All the while though, it turns out that this player and family were using the team to get out of another contract with another team, while still talking to other teams even when under contract with my team. Confused? Yeah me too.
Here is the timeline;
The player signed a contract, the player reported to the team and since that time has used team resources, housing, equipment, meals and all other items stated and agreed to in the contract.
Before the regular season games began the team was informed by USA Hockey the player was on financial suspension from another team.
The team receiving the notification reached out to the other team and made arrangements for the player to be released from suspension and play on the new team. Everyone was satisfied, or it at least looked that way.
It turns out though that the player was still talking to other teams. The player thought that because the regular season games had not started that he could get out of the contract with the team that had just negotiated his release. The player walked out the door and thought it was over.
Fortunately there is a paper trail for all of this, and governing bodies have done their job and forced the player to negotiate with the team that he just left so that he could legally play for another team. This included a financial settlement to cover the teams time and expense for recruiting a new player to fill the roster vacancy.
Unfortunately this story is far too common. Families think they can just run around and do what ever they want and take advantage of people without consequence. This is the Good Liar also found in hockey mom’s and dad’s throughout North America.
Teams all over have parents and players walk out on contracts every year. It is only through these financial suspension mechanisms that allow teams to operate on an even playing field. These financial suspensions do not go away over time either, they last until they are satisfied.
Also of note, more teams and leagues who play outside of USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are now recognizing these suspensions as well and forcing players to make arrangements with the former club. This only makes sense because otherwise how would they trust the player to make good on their contract?
So, if you sign a contract, be prepared to honor it, or make arrangements to get out of it. Don’t be one of these families that everyone in hockey ends up hearing about. Don’t potentially ruin your child’s opportunity because you are not adult enough to make arrangements.
Coaches talk, owners talk, and everyone eventually hears about players who break contracts. Sooner or later it will catch up to the player, and the team options will become few and far between.
Just because you stop driving a car you leased, doesnt mean you can return it and stop paying without some kind of penalty.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser