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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fort Vancouver - The Ruling

I have received the following statement from the league regarding the situation regarding Fort Vancouver:
NPHL Release

The Northern Pacific Hockey League has reached a settlement agreement with the Ft. Vancouver Pioneers Hockey Club with regards to an internal investigation the league conducted over the past month. Throughout this investigation, NORPAC and the Pioneers organization have taken every step possible to put the players' interests first. As a result, NORPAC and the Pioneers have agreed that at the conclusion of the Pioneers' post season play, Pioneers' President Joe Loftgren, and Pioneers Coach, Tim O'Neal will both accept a voluntary lifetime ban from participating with any USA Hockey sanctioned team. In addition, NORPAC has imposed a stiff fine against the Pioneers.

NORPAC Interim Commissioner, Mike Butters, said he is pleased that a settlement has been reached. "We have all learned a great deal about what it really takes to be operators of teams in junior hockey in this process. When situations like this arise, nobody wins or loses. We simply needed to resolve the issue for the sake of the players. Ft. Vancouver was cooperative with this process in the end and both that organization and NORPAC felt that allowing their players to compete in the league playoffs was the right thing to do for the players who were not involved." Butters added, "It was not an easy position for any of us to be in and I commend each team on its commitment to resolving this issue swiftly. It is my hope that all of junior hockey will learn from situations like this and work together to insure that it can be avoided in the future."
So there you have it. If anyone has any further questions, they can contact Interim Commissioner Mike Butters c/o the Helena Bighorns.

Noticeably absent from the ruling are any findings of fact. To address that I direct your attention to the first line of the release - the ruling is a settlement. Obviously, there was considerable merit to the charges, else the Pioneers would not have agreed to it. The amount of the fine is not listed in the release, but it is my understanding amount is unprecedented for Junior B.

So with this unpleasant episode reaching a conclusion (I still believe USA Hockey may take separate action of their own), I leave the following haiku to the fan(s) from Fort Vancouver who saw fit to disparage me via the blog comments:

Great controversy arose
Our curiosity piqued
Fort Vancouver Pioneers
USA Hockey scrutiny
College eligibility jeopardized
Kudos to the league
You kept things under control
Officials taking seriously
Ugly the situation grew
Resolve the matter, we cried
Strung out the process, Pios did
Exhausted, we all became
Longing for resolution
Finally, justice handed out

Okay, so it's not really a haiku... but I imagine you'll get the point.


Comments on "Fort Vancouver - The Ruling"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:29 AM, March 11, 2007) : 

yawn.. still no one cares.. glad this thing is over


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:17 AM, March 11, 2007) : 

Hear the new coach is Macwilliams? one disaster after another.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:01 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

What ever happened to MacWilliams' suspension from USA Hockey for the Tucson situation? Do the folks from USA Hockey know that MacWilliams is jumping behind the bench? MacWilliams problems are well documented and he should't be around these boys or around hockey period!!!! Maybe he can give Jeremy Law a call and the team of Laurel & Hardy can be reunited in their quest for a National Title!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:09 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

My sources tell me that MacWilliams recieved a 5yr ban from USA Hockey for the Tucson situation...???? Can anyone verify?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:35 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

Its just a rumor as of yet but he doesnt even have the proper USA hockey coaching level cert. I think a 4 is needed.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:40 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

If Jon is allowed to even support another USA hockey team , this sport should just shut down. He is a Merkin


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:27 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

What a joke that the ruling allows this team to continue. The League has shown a disregard for all the other kids in the Norpac just to protect a few players on the Ft Van team who they think didn't receive anything. The outcome of the playoffs will always be suspect.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:45 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

If they make it to Nationals I'm sure the teams there will cry foul and the situation will have to be addressed. USA hockey will have to step in. I can't imagine any other league but the Norpac letting it unfold this way.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:48 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

So, what do you think? Did Loftgren and O'Neal get a 'George Steinbrenner' lifetime ban or a 'Pete Rose/Shoeless Joe Jackson' lifetime ban?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:18 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

They and Fort Van are done as soon as this season is over.
"day late and a dollar short"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:44 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

poster above - RE-READ the NPHL statement above again 'carefully' -- there is no mention that Ft Vancouver is done at the end of their playoff run, it only implies there was a 'stiff fine' imposed. This does not mean the organization dissolves.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:08 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

We can only hope this corrupt organization dissolves. The damage they have done to the NorPac League's reputation will take years to repair. Once again coaches will tell their kids to play anywhere but the NorPac.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:44 PM, March 11, 2007) : 

What a tale that would be told if the top teams in the country wereinvestigated. There will be no outcry at the nationals, because all coaches know what it takes to put together a winner. They alldoit!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:05 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

That's the best rationalization you can muster ... they're ALL dirty?

If that's the case, then please get out of hockey.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:35 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

Go to nationals and find a jr b team that has a full roster of "Tuition Paid" players and they are liars. The leagues are set up to be taken advantage of by the smart and crafty.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:12 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

Sorry, you're not making sense. If they all 'do it,' then why did Fort Vancouver get turned in? That would only increase the possibility that others would get the finger pointed at them, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:39 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

and the finger was pointed.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:45 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

ok, three posts up. where do you buy your information from? ALL the players on Ft Vanc are NOT "FULL TUITION PAID". If they all played for free I wonder what they did with my $4,500 check I wrote and that most all of the other parents wrote. You're not on this team and you have no proof (aside from gossip and twisted truth)to base your comment on that this whole team is bought.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:57 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

..ok so its not ok for an organization to help a player that might not be able to afford to play with sponsorship funds or scholarship money granted to that team for that reason? Did you ever think about if the coaches are helping house a player (in their home)that it might be their choice not to accept billet money? There are a handful of local kids on the team, they don't have to pay billet fees. As for gear, every organization provides certain gear for the team.

But its ok for the River City coach to make a $1000.00 offer to players to play for him at River City?

Every NORPAC team has skeletons in their closet - do NOT kid yourself.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:58 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

Thanks NPHL - they did the RIGHT thing, made the right decision.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:48 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

Ft Van was found guilty. There is no amount of justification for what they did so quit trying. The rest of the Norpac got punished and Ft Van gets to continue on. The only people happy with this decision are Pioneer players and their supporters. Helena it's not too late to buy some players...the team won't get punished until next season.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:22 AM, March 12, 2007) : 

did you not read the release from NPHL? The settlement is on Oneal and Loftgren. the team is not guilty of anything. the fine will be to the organization, not hte players


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

To the Fort Vancouver dad or dads on here.

If your only defense is "everyone does it", then why were you guys the only ones who got caught? If you think that USA Hockey will let Fort Vancouver play at the Nationals, I also think you are still in denial as to what has happened. My guess is USA Hockey has already ruled on this and will ban them from Nationals. How can they let them participate? Lets quit beating around the bush here, Fort Vancouver has professional hockey players on their roster who are still playing. That simply won't be tolerated if they advance. You can deny all you wish, but your team agreed to the sanctions against them. That wouldn't have happened if they were innocent.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:00 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Yawn. Get all your facts before judging. I always thought this was for the players. But then again I enjoy the hypocracy of those on here who enjoy pointing fingers. Sure lets open a whole can of stupidity and get off your lazy backsides and do some homework and find how many teams did this, do this and will continue to do this. And not just at the NorPac level. While we are at it lets destroy youth hockey altogether. Because that is the track we are headed on.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:04 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

its already been ruled on - they can compete at Nationals if they make it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:21 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

USAH has yet to rule on anything, that was only NORPAC ruling.... Im pretty sure they wont allow them to participate


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:27 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

And when USAH makes their decision and Ft Van still plays are you going to whine even more?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:13 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

who's whinning? my son plays on the team!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:26 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

interesting...a few years ago a coach was let go partially for mis appropriations of funds...the players involved left and played for you guessed it..Ft. Vanc


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:30 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Ah the heck with it. Get out the rope and let's hang all of them. We've got nothing else better to do.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:33 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

A reliable report out of Colorado has stated that the team has not been found guilty of paying players. However, they are guilty of excessively sponsoring players. Again, this is from one source. If this is the case then I can understand how people have twisted this to being "players getting paid to play".

No report from the NPHL has stated that players were paid this season. The reports have strictly stated that the team has put too many players on scholarship. That does not mean that players were not paid last season. In the end, I believe NORPAC did a decent job considering there was a lack of evidence in the case that convicts the Pioneers.

Regardless of what has happened, I believe it to be fair that people should stop posting statements unless they know it to be true. (And I can just see someone saying they are certain, but you are not!). You can have an opinion on any matter; just make sure you don’t turn your hearsay/opinion to fact!

Also in regards to this Pioneers team, they are pretty good. I finally saw them play against Eugene and they are really good on there top 2 lines. I think this team is playing incredible considering the off-ice distractions. My friends money can not by chemistry and these kids from what I saw have it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:49 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Here is what is true:

Two main management people, banned from USA Hockey FOR LIFE!

Largest fine in USA Hockey ever for Jr. B!

Fort Vancouver AGREED to these sanctions!

All this involves improper receipt of funds by players from the team!

Fort Vancouver's only defense is "everyone does it."

USA Hockey has not ruled on this but will be forced to if they advance to Nationals.

USA Hockey made a president with Tuscon by suspending all players who's fees were not paid in full by the individual players.

Comment: If the only defense of an organization is the rationalization of cheating, then there is no defense. The best solution is for Helena to win the series, however if Fort Vancouver advances, the best I could see occurring is Fort Vancouver playing with a short roster. No way possible for the individual players involved to be eligible for Nationals. USA Hockey probably just axe's the entire team and lets Helena represent the Nor-Pac.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:38 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Were players paid last year? Yes. They were given money to help the team during the payoff run.

Were the players paid this year? It depends on how the rules are written. No player this year received any money. What they did receive were free plane tickets to and from. Free plane tickets to and from for Christams break. Free sticks. No tuition to play, and no billet fees. No billet fees I believe come down to an individaul situation. Some billets may choose not to receive payment, as has happened. There was no actual moeny given as there was last year.

The mast majority of this team has paid their fees, billets, and bought their own sticks. It is not as many as people make it out to be. With their 28-29 man roster of kids they still have here, they could still suit about 19-20 for Nationals if the others were found ineligible. Yes it would be several top tier players, but not all.

I have read the report on the Tilt about their players being frozen until they paid there fees. The Tilt had the same type of situation. Now some of those players are here. So did they pay? And if so I think USA Hockey has their hands tied if they are to let these kids play. I would think they all have to pay.

What I find funny though is that we have the Tilt players here playing, we have the old managing partner here, that is supposed to be banned for 5 years, and now we have the current owner and coach taking a voulntary lifetime ban. I am still trying to find out for sure the ban on MacWilliams, because I have been told that he is the coach for next year, and this is not hearsay. How can that happen.

It should be interesting if the Pioneers win, and next year, should be fun also.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:19 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Something called the American East Hockey League (AEHL), they are not sancitioned by USA Hockey. This would be legal for the Pioneers to compete there with lifetime bans and suspensions.

And there is nothing that can stop them from doing so.

So to all that are not smart... Figure out the fact that there are options. And the Pioneers are clever in what they are doing.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:00 PM, March 12, 2007) : 


According to a team source two posts above me, I conclude the following expenses:

Tuition: $4500
Sticks: $750
Billeting: $1750
Plane tickets $900

Total: $7900

That my friends is call being a professional. They were paid to play. Paid in services and gifts and all considered income by the IRS. They are professionals. If you think USA Hockey will allow them to participate in the Nationals, you are very uninformed.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:05 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

READ the post you're responding to. NO players received any money.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:23 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

It doesn't matter if they did not physically get cash/money. They got services which normally a person would have to pay for (i.e. billet fees, equipment, team fees), which is essentially the same as getting the money.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:00 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

If certain rumors are correct, Fort Vancouver approached the WHA about joining that league, which is not tied to either Hockey Canada or USA Hockey.

Of course, the WHA has a few issues of its own, but it's becoming evident that they have a decent chance of resolving them. (Among other things, they just announced they were adding an Alberta Northern Division centered around Edmonton.)

So, I think the message mentioning the Pioneers having an eye on joining an independent league is on to something. It would explain why Loftgren and O'Neal didn't put up much resistance to their lifetime bans.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:01 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

"Go to nationals and find a jr b team that has a full roster of "Tuition Paid" players and they are liars. The leagues are set up to be taken advantage of by the smart and crafty."

Its comments like this that show the true nature of who's involved here. Smart and crafty. Its called dishonest and unintelligent. Smart people find a way to win with whats given and within MORAL reason. People cheat because they lack the intelligence to succeed on their own ideas and hard work. You would think that you would be proud of yourself for winnning within the rules. There are a reason for "rules" and there is a penalty for not abiding by them, hence what has happened here.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:06 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

All I got to say is dont let MacWilliams control the checkbook y'all know what happened in Tucson 198 grand "blown" in 4 months.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:54 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

My son had a great year in the WHA this season. It is ironic that he headed north after being on the Tilt and now it seems that MacWilliams is headed that direction to wreck havoc in the WHA. I cannot say enough good things about the WHA and the way it is run, especially after living firsthand the debacle that was the Tucson Tilt. It would be just like that scumbag MacWilliams to figure out a way to circumvent his USA hockey suspension. I just hope that Ricky Smith does not let him anywhere near the WHA.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:35 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

Your son had a good year in the WHA huh! You may want to find him another sport. That league is Bantam hockey at best. Perhaps Tennis!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:37 PM, March 12, 2007) : 

The WHA did a good job on the ice this year. Only the petty, the uninformed or the ignorant would argue against that.

And their financial issues were due to someone taking money from them. I think they'll recover, too. I hope they do.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:14 AM, March 13, 2007) : 

The WHA did a "good Job" this year? On the ice? Perhaps. Having not seen a game, I cannot comment directly on that. But, having been kicked out of at least one, center, maybe more, for not paying bills, I'm saying there won't likely be a Northwest WHA Division for anyone to join next season.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:08 AM, March 13, 2007) : 

It is a worse level than the WSHL, which says alot because other than PHX, the league is awful, yes El Paso included.It is a crime to call it Junior Hockey, 3/4ths of the players can't skate.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:15 AM, March 13, 2007) : 

I agree with the message above. You can make stupid statements like you just did here, but anyone who has seen the WHA and Norpac knows why the Pioneers started asking about joining the WHA as early as last fall, BEFORE all the controversy erupted. They want to find a higher level of competition.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:35 AM, March 13, 2007) : 

I got fed up with Norpac games after coming to the conclusion that misconducts for abuse of officials was becoming a tradition for them. I went to a couple of WHA games when I had the chance to travel north for a weekend and for my 30 years of following hockey, they did play a higher quality of hockey. Anyone who says differently is just not credible. Most notably, they didn't have the undisciplined and selfish penalties I kept seeing in the Norpac. Their players and coaches at least showed some respect for the game.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:13 AM, March 13, 2007) : 

The Pioneers were looking at the WHA last fall? That's called an exit strategy.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:23 PM, March 15, 2007) : 

on the topic of phoenix only being the top team in wshl. el paso is one of the solid teams in jr b. a first year team averaging about 900 to 1200 a game. they built an organization to stay and compete with phoenix, not to win and leave.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:15 AM, October 08, 2007) : 

The Pioneers.....Joe and Tim should be locked up for the things they did to players. The people they stepped on, the damage they did to young hockey players, the lack of ethics and professionalism....
Say what you want, the people that know the truth about these guys, and the organization, know the hurt and damage they have caused. Thank God someone else (WHA) gets to deal with these bad, bad, people.


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