Small-town politics

Dear Mike:
The recent push to start an ‘AAA’ hockey program in Fort Frances is the latest example of small-town politics and grudges getting in the way of logical thinking and common sense.
Despite the beliefs of some, Fort Frances simply isn’t big enough to contain three successful hockey programs involving players of roughly the same age group (the Muskies, Canadians, and ‘AAA’).
The introduction of yet another team would only weaken the entire hockey scene in Fort Frances.
For those requiring proof, one need only look up the road to Kenora, where the Broncos managed a 1-17 record in NorWOSSA while the Thistles went 5-34-1 playing in the Manitoba ‘AAA’ hockey league.
Their talent was simply spread too thin.
In reading some of the online comments on the Times’ website, it appears as if part of the reasoning behind starting an ‘AAA’ program is the belief that it would get the players more exposure. This simply isn’t true.
Modern scouting has advanced to the point that it does not matter where you play, the scouts will find you if you have the requisite talent. The problem is that there are those in town who have overestimated the talent level of their children.
The harsh reality of hockey is that not everyone will make the next level—despite the wishes of the player and their parents.
What’s most distressing about this debate is the fact that some people are acting under the guise of what’s best for the kids when, in reality, they are being self-serving.
This entire situation smacks of a personal conflict between a faction of parents and the Muskie coaching staff, and more specifically head coach Shane Bliss.
The logical solution would be to address these concerns in a closed-door meeting and try to resolve them internally, not to start a new team.
Muskie hockey has a long and proud tradition in Fort Frances, and it would be extremely short-sighted to damage the program in any way because of a personal grudge.
Alex Cruickshank
Former Times’
sports reporter