commentary & opinions on the sports and political scene
Monthly Archives: January 2015
January 22, 2015Posted by on
Keep it Up !!
Unless you have or plan on directing some town contracts to a family or extended family members…what can possibly wrong with setting clear boundaries? Same as why you would be against expanding the definition of “family”. Its simple don’t get into town politics if its for family favors !!!!!
It speak volumes on which councilors are against transparency and professional process…. And which of our mayors ( 🙂 ) are conspicuously silent.
January 20, 2015Posted by on
It was recently reported in the Collingwood Connection and the Enterprise Bulletin that the Collingwood Curling Club expansion has gone significantly overbudget. Given the track record of building projects in this town, this is no surprise.
This raised a question by our crack staff of investigators on what the obligations the Town of Collingwood have financially to the overruns. As always the answer is interesting.
The Town and Curling Club entered into an agreement to split the costs of the renovation back in 2014 at an estimated cost of 1 million dollars. The Curling Club contracted to Shertine Construction to complete the project. The project has had several delays and while final costs are not in, expected to be “significantly” over budget according to Town Treasurer Marjorie Leanord.
Hmmm, ok sounds about right.
We asked for a copy of the agreement between the Curling Club and Town to see where possible cost overruns, bidding process, obligations of parties, and other details of the partnership are set out. What we received back as a “complete” agreement between the two parties is this
This is a Promissory Note.
A Promissory Note is a financial instrument that is legal binding. It simply says …I’m lending you money, and you have to pay me back. It is transferable and can be bought and sold. It’s the same as $5 bill. It’s not intended to be anything more.
What the Town has done is attached some vague wording into the Promissory Note instead of executing an Agreement or Contract between themselves and the Curling Club. Any lawyer will tell you this is a disaster waiting to happen, especially considering the money involved here.
In summary the Town has said …here is half of what you think you need, go out and hire a contractor of your choice and do the renovations. If you spend too much money, don’t worry we’ll just kick in more.
As there is no formal agreement between the parties, the Curling Club can really do whatever they want without Town input or approval…and we (the taxpayers) are on the hook.
We are proponents of the Curling Club and its renovations, it was much needed and necessary and we would expect the Curling Club to regulate them professionally on the project…BUT, the Towns job is to act in the best interest of all the taxpayers and has an obligation to protect us and our interests in all its dealings.
Do they really need to be told not to enter into multi million dollar agreements without a formal Agreement? C’mon guys, it’s really not that hard.
January 18, 2015Posted by on
MPMP is a performance measurement and reporting system that promotes local government transparency and accountability. It also provides municipalities with useful data to make informed municipal service level decisions while optimizing available resources.
We’ve been provided with some very interesting information with regards to Collingwood’s performance against its peers based on the 2011 survey results. While we constantly here about the costs to operate programs and facilities in Collingwood, the measure of efficiency is the true indicator of how we are doing with what we have.
Keep in mind this is BEFORE the new library and Central Park arena projects, which will decrease performance numbers even further with regards to efficiency.
Category Cost per person Median Difference
Indoor Recreation Facilities 75.36 52.60 22.76 more
Parks, Programs, Facilities 253.79 100.46 153.33 more
Library Services 68.48 35.79 32.69 more
Library Service per use 2.96 1.19 1.77 more
Library Uses per person 23 30 7 less
Indoor Recreational Sq ft (per 1000) 2931 4884 1953
- We pay almost $23 more per person for 40 % less indoor recreational space…YET WE BUILD ANOTHER ONE ANYWAYS
- We pay well more than double for our parks, programs and facilities than average
- We pay almost double for library services than average comparable town, we pay more than double for our per visit costs to the library and we have 40% less use of the library…the old library…YET WE BUILT A NEW ONE ANYWAYS !
This information is shockingly embarrassing for the Parks and Recreation Dept and Library people at the town level. Both programs are completely inefficient compared to similar communities in Ontario and yet projects like the new library and Central arena are pushed ahead with no consideration for how well they are being operated.
January 13, 2015Posted by on
Who messed up the design of the new Central Park Arena ?
According to Sprung officials, the builder of the facility, it certainly wasn’t them. They were specific in their response that town officials choose not to follow the Sprung interior layout and went with their own plans !
A quick look at the Sprung arena layout for a single pad ice is below:
At question is the exit from the ice surface and the location of the dressing rooms. As clearly seen the professional design calls for two separate exits from the ice surface to separated dressing room areas. For those in the hockey world, the reason is obvious; to reduce the interaction and potential violence between players leaving and entering the ice.
Our state of the art Central Park facility though has one ice exit leading to dressing rooms all in very close proximity.
Imagine two teenage players being ejected for fighting in a highly aggressive playoff game…then being sent out to the same area unattended? What does common sense tell us is going to happen? You got it…..round two of the fight ! How about 40 testosterone filled teenagers all sitting within earshot of each other after a game? Yikes….
When questioned about design a Hockey Canada representative said rooms should absolutely be properly separated in the arena design. An expert from Ice Rink Solutions, a leading consultant in arena design and building, said “there definitely should be separate ice exits for each team” when posed the design question.
We did a quick survey of arenas throughout Ontario and could not find any new facilities sharing this odd design. We did find a few older arenas, but none of these hosted competitive hockey or were multi use facilities.
So the question is who in the towns recreational facility department approved or changed the professional design Sprung and almost every other consultant uses in their projects? And why…. other than saving a few thousand in plumbing and electrical costs on a multi-million dollar project ?
My guess is someone in the town wanted to have their thumbprint on this project that didn’t have the expertise or foresight to future use.
January 12, 2015Posted by on
Do our high school students get the best coaching and instruction when it comes to athletics, or just whoever is available to do it? Not only from an educational perspective, but from a medical perspective, schools need to take notice of their programming.
Back in the good ole days, you know when we had dinosaurs, to coach high school athletics you must have been a registered teacher at the school. Now schools allow any qualified person to coach, but a staff member must be included on the team. So the question must be asked….with all the qualified and experienced athletes in our community, why are the majority of teams being coached, and fitness programs being taught, by staff with little experience or qualifications?
Take a highly technical and injury laden activity like Crossfit for example. Crossfit has become an excessive fad over the past few years, but its foundation is on age old training methodologies. It’s a curious combination of semi-personal training, army-like workouts and cult-like cleeky membership groups. Those that buy into it are like Apple product fans on steroids, they will not accept anything that contradicts their mostly blind beliefs in the product.
Obviously don’t take my word for it, go to http://journals.lww.com/nsca-Jscr/pages/default.aspx for the experts opinion.
Much like football, hockey, rugby and other contact sports almost all medical bodies and public health organizations share the conclusion that these sports and activities are dangerous not only to adults, but to youth in various stages of physical development can cause lifelong physical and mental issues.
The Canadian Medical Association and the American Medical Association have both declared that injuries attributed to contact sports are not acceptable and need immediate regulation from a medical perspective.
Can you imagine parents encouraging their kids to smoke, knowing full well they will be affecting their future health to some degree, because one day they might be an actor in smoking commercial and be rich and famous? Ridiculous.
School administrators need to expand their thoughts on athletic programming in the best interest of the kids participating. With few exceptions, teachers are well meaning individuals that want to participate in something outside of the classroom. But this is not the standard schools should be setting for the health and well-being of our children…they should be setting the highest standard possible. They do in hiring teachers for their subject expertise. Imagine if an ex professional hockey player took over the JV hockey team and they let him teach chemistry on the side, not because he was properly trained….but just because he was available. Ridiculous.
Our community offers access to some of the best athletes in the world, schools need to reach out and utilize them. Teachers that want to be involved in athletics need to be certified by professional organizations outside the teaching college. Why are we afraid to demand the highest standards from those interacting with our children in a potentially dangerous environment? Why shouldn’t we demand the best instruction available for our children in athletics like we do in the classroom?
Take a run though the CCI and JV coaching staff and you will see what I mean…….
January 12, 2015Posted by on
It’s not a surprise because the Blue and While juggernaut consisting of player, coaches, management, fans, shareholders, corporations, commentators, analysts, newspaper, radio, etc … demands 24/7 attention much like a child. And as an overindulgent parent the child gets what they want by being extra whiny.
It is a surprise because from a hockey perspective Carlyle did a fine job and wasn’t deserving of this treatment, but let’s not let not get reality get in the way of the Maple Leafs progress…or lack of.
A coach’s job is fairly simple. With deference to every couch sitting Saturday night coach-wannabee, line combinations and sitting players is not the focus of the professional coach. A coaches job is to deal with the players put in front of him by the GM. The coaching strategy he employs, from game systems to motivational tactics, are based on the personnel he has been given.
Yesterday’s coaches like Mike Keenan don’t work in today’s game, they have a single coaching style that doesn’t adapt well to players that can’t or won’t play the way they want. Ken Hitchcock understood that his coaching methodology had to adapt to the team put in front of him, he went from a “hard ass” to a master of communication in his development into one of the finest coaches the NHL will ever see. Roger Neilson knew this and called it situational coaching.
So the question becomes for Randy Carlyle, did he have the personnel in front of him to be successful and he couldn’t manage them….or did he have an inferior level of talent and was doomed to fail ? In the first case he deserved to be let go, in the second GM Shanahan (uh yes, not front man Nonis) is squarely to blame by making him a scapegoat for years of poor management decisions.
Let’s look at what Carlyle had to play with compared to a truly elite team, the Chicago Blackhawks and value their worth out of 10. 5 is an average NHL quality player, probably 3rd or 4th line on a decent team. 7 is a good NHL player with nice upside. 9 is an elite player on any team. 10 is Wayne Gretzky quality.
Winnik 5 Bozak 6 Kessel 8
JVR 7 Kadri 7 Panik 5
Komarov 6 Santorelli 5 Clarkson 5
Booth 5 Smith 5 Bodie 4
Phaneuf 6 Franson 7
Rielly 7 Polak 6
Gardiner 4 Robidas 5
Team Total = 101
Saad 8 Toews 9 Hossa 9
Bickell 7 Richards 7 Kane 9
Sharp 8 Shaw 7 Teravainen 6
Carcillo 6 Kruger 5 Smith 5
Keith 9 Seabrook 8
Hjalmarsson 8 Oduya 8
Rozsival 6 Runblad 6
Team Total = 131
If you go through a few bottom dweller teams like Buffalo or Carolina you will probably come up with Team Totals around 95.
So based on this it seems clear Carlyle was given an extremely mediocre team to work with, and on some nights got an all star performance out of them. Other nights, and more often, got the team they really were…below average in individual talent.
I’d suggest his coaching strategy was very successful in getting them to play some great hockey on some nights, executing game strategy and bringing high energy. But on the bad nights the same game strategy couldn’t make up for the reality of talent they had on the ice.
In moving forward Shanahan would have been much better off to take a page from the Nashville Predators and Barry Trotz. It took 4 or 5 years of poor showings to find the right player talent that could execute the strategy plan Trotz put in place. Management believed in their coach, the coach believed in his plan and was given the chance to execute it. Don’t for minute think Trotz after a few years dumped his plans and came up with a whole “new” system of play, his success came from being allowed to persevere in his plans and mold the players that came in for him.
And let’s not forget todays golden boy, Brendan Shanahan has no record of success in management at any level. The pedestal Toronto fans and media have put him on is quite astonishing. In his role with the NHL, he made many questionable disciplinary decisions and could not reasonably justify most of them when challenged (see my previous post and video). While he was a great player, there is an extensive list of the greatest NHL players that failed miserably as coaches and GM’s in the league….look no further than my favorite Mr. Gretzky’s experiences.
So it seems the good ship Blue and White is continuing in on its Titanic voyage. They refuse to learn from their own past, and refuse to acknowledge the success of other teams building strategies. Shanahan like his predecessors talks a great game, but is either unable or incapable to follow through. He said this year’s team was going to be tough, strong in the middle and defensively solid….wrong, wrong and wrong again but he continues on. He says now Carlyle is gone the players are going to be held to account, why couldn’t they be held to account for Carlyle? And really what exactly will Shanahan do about it when they inevitably can’t or won’t?
Unfortunately this ship is sailing the exact same course as the doomed Titanic (or the Edmonton Oilers, but I digress), but expects different results.
Hey what’s it called when you do the same thing over and over and over with the same results..…but continue to expect different results each time?
I N S A N I T Y….
January 8, 2015Posted by on
So as reported today in the Enterprise Bulletin, the Collingwood Ice hockey team has ceased operations. For those counting, that’s two teams folded in the past four years. The Collingwood Blackhawks (formerly Blues) were reabsorbed back into the Hockey Canada sanctioned Junior A league back in 2011 after losing its town support when Marta
Proctor was given the steering wheel at Parks Dept.
There are two issues here, distinct and separate. The first is Mr. Dickieson’s claims; the second is the Town of Collingwood.
Tim Dickieson brought the Collingwood Ice to town after a failed attempt in Bracebridge in another league. In Bracebridge it was in the GMHL, in Collingwood the CIHL….what the initials stand for is irrelevant, they are both non-sanctioned teams under Hockey Canada guidelines that tag themselves with the “ Junior A” label and try to get enough players to pay for the privilege of playing.
Neither league has any record of success in promoting players to higher levels of hockey, other than the odd kid getting on to a NCAA Division 3 team where he pays either a portion or all of his education fees and team fees. The player Dickieson references as going on to a D3 school will most likely pay a significant portion of his education and playing fees, which for any parent of child considering a U.S. College can be a staggering cost.
Dickieson knew full well what he was getting involved with after Bracebridge. He knew minor hockey was not allowed to participate in any way with the team, so complaining now is sad. The former league trying to “steal” his players he refers to is none other than the GMHL, the very league he participated in previously! Under Hockey Canada players have their rights to play governed so this type of “stealing” can’t happen without severe penalty.
Attendance went from 500 to 30 per game? I’ll argue the 500, because my spies tell me after opening night, attendance was no more than 100 or so with most of those being parents. The quality of the entertainment determines the attendance. The Collingwood Blues were always in the top 5 of attendance even though they struggled in the win column…and it was done without any assistance from minor hockey. The Stayner Siskins are only a lowly “ Junior C” team, and they consistently have a packed house. The management simply didn’t do a good job of promoting the team and having a good business plan in place, that’s why nobody went and those that did didn’t go back.
Mr. Collver, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture stated that “the relationship was a provider of ice and facilities”. Mayor Geddes and ex Director Peter Dunbar must have shaken their heads at that one.
Over 50 years of hockey tradition was snuffed out by Mayor Cooper and Marta Proctor, then Parks Director, when they refused to continue the longstanding relationship the Town of Collingwood had with its junior hockey teams. Mayor Geddes championed the Collingwood Blues importance to the community and actively assisted in seeing them succeed. Peter Dunbar was a former player who understood the importance of hockey as a cultural and historical part of Collingwood’s past. Both men understood what small town recreation and entertainment means to a community (see the previous article on the economic impact of the team’s departure).
The former Junior A team wasn’t being given handouts, it earned its rewards. I spoke to the previous GM quite a while ago and the list is extensive on what was taken away by Proctor et al.
- 50/50 lottery license
- Raffle license
- Arena boards rights
- On ice advertising rights
- Use of office in arena
- Friday game times
- Practice time
- Merchandise sales kiosk
- Booster club
All totaled it was estimated $20-40 000 of support or in kind assistance was removed and after several meeting with Proctor, Cooper and Arena Manager Dennis Seymour the team management had no choice but to accept a league agreement to close down.
Junior level hockey teams are not money makers, every team in A, B or C level competition struggle to make ends meet. Only the communities that value their existence will have teams …its really that simple.
The Town needs, no must, do more than be a provider of facilities…it must be active, engaged and care whether the people they serve succeed.
So to Mr. Dickieson, I can shed no tears with you…you knew full well what you were getting into and blew it (again). To the Town of Collingwood, I hope Mr. Collver’s statement doesn’t reflect the future attitude of his department because it would be nice to see junior level hockey back here …especially with all this extra ice not being used !
More on that later…….
January 8, 2015Posted by on
My time away from our great town is over ! Looking forward to keeping everyone up to date with MY opinion on our sports scene (and the occasional comment on politics 🙂 )
Stay tuned and feel free to contact me anytime.