Cape Breton Dodgers kicked out of Big League nationals tournament.
Organizers of the 2015 Canadian Big League Championship in Calgary have sent the Cape Breton Dodgers home.
Dodgers coach Derrick Hanna said tournament organizers told him the team was being sent home for being loud and having open liquor at the University of Calgary dorms they were staying at.
The team was informed to leave on Monday. Hanna said he was told it was a result of what happened Sunday night, but he says most of his players had gone downtown that night to get something to eat and have a few drinks downtown, since the legal drinking age in Alberta is 18. The team had an off day on Monday.
He said every player on the team except for three went out at about 10 p.m. and got back between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Among those three that stayed behind was one who is only 17. Hanna said he and the coaching staff were in their room with the door open when the players got back, and never heard any loud noises.
“We would have heard them,” said Hanna. “We stayed up for another hour and 15 minutes with our door open, and it was only a small dorm, with maybe eight rooms with two double beds in it. We had eight rooms and Ontario had four rooms on that floor also.”
Hanna said there were rules in place to not have liquor in the dorm rooms. The players did have liquor the first night, but a meeting was held with all the teams and the liquor was removed.
Hanna said there were recurring complaints about one Dodgers player in particular, but he informed tournament officials to send that particular player home if he was an issue.
“If there’s one kid, send him home. If we had two kids who were a problem, send them home. If we had four kids that were problems, send them home,” said Hanna, who said the team would fight the decision. “If they saw four kids outside the dorm drinking, find out who they are and send them home. Why the whole team?”
The tournament opened on Saturday. The Dodgers were winless in their opening three games and were set to play three more round-robin games.
The Dodgers team has enjoyed success at the national stage. The club captured backto-back national titles in 2009 and 2010, and reached the Canadian final in 2011 and 2012. After not fielding a team in 2013, the club competed at last year’s nationals in Thunder Bay, Ont.
“Without knowing the whole story, obviously it’s disappointing any time you would see anything like this happen, whether it was a player, a group of players or whole team,” said Doug MacKenzie of Sydney, Little League Canada district administrator. “It does cast a bad light on our programs here. We’ve always tried to represent Cape Breton proudly, whether it was Glace Bay, Sydney Mines or Sydney.”
MacKenzie said it’s been normal practice by Little League Canada to house players at dorms during national tournaments in recent years. He said it would likely be a topic of conversation at Little League Canada’s annual general meeting in Ottawa in late August.
Tournament officials could not be reached for comment.