Re­sults of spe­cial meet­ings could re­shape OHA

The Expositor (Brantford) - - SPORTS - CORY SMITH POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

With the clock tick­ing to­ward some an­swers in an on­go­ing ju­nior hockey saga, both sides have spent the days lead­ing up to a pair of spe­cial meet­ings jock­ey­ing for votes.

The first meet­ing is set for Sun­day at 10 a.m., when 15 res­o­lu­tions put for­ward by the On­tario Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion will be voted on that would, if ap­proved, re­shape the land­scape within the coun­try’s largest ju­nior hockey or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Many of the OHA’s pro­pos­als are league-spe­cific, but the gov­ern­ing body said it is will­ing to dis­solve its board of direc­tors and cede power to three trustees – who have no af­fil­i­a­tion with the OHA – put in place by the On­tario Hockey Fed­er­a­tion and Hockey Canada un­til the 2019 OHA an­nual gen­eral meet­ing.

In a memo to teams this week, the OHA said it made the de­ci­sion be­cause the cur­rent set-up was “headed for long-term disas­ter” and that its pro­posal is “in the best in­ter­ests of all the teams and all of the play­ers ... not driven by a hand­ful who were de­ter­mined to un­der­mine the cur­rent OHA and in the fu­ture have an OHA that would be con­trolled by a small hand­ful of peo­ple with agen­das they share only amongst them­selves.”

The OHA also of­fered a mea culpa by ac­knowl­edg­ing the dys­func­tion within its cur­rent board, which has lost Tom Strauch and Don Kil­gallen in re­cent weeks.

“As ev­ery­one knows by now the OHA is po­lar­ized with what amounts to war­ring fac­tions on both sides of sev­eral is­sues that had in­flu­enced and in­fil­trated the board, and we were re­act­ing daily to one cri­sis af­ter an­other rather than run­ning the OHA,” the memo said. “It was a huge de­ci­sion for us to re­sign and one that was emo­tional and dif­fi­cult. But this move is to save the in­sti­tu­tion. We had to put our­selves and the cur­rent board aside to do that. This couldn’t be about us as direc­tors. This had to be about what was best for the OHA and ju­nior hockey in On­tario.”

Cur­rent OHA di­rec­tor Arnie Lawlor wrote in an email Oct. 12 that he voted against the as­so­ci­a­tion’s spe­cial meet­ing res­o­lu­tions. He said the gov­er­nance com­mit­tee es­tab­lished in the spring should have had a chance to fin­ish its job.

“Can you imag­ine all the direc­tors (whom YOU voted for) are gone and will be re­placed by three peo­ple se­lected by the OHF?” he said.

Strauch, who re­signed as OHA chair last month, has since joined a group of “con­cerned mem­bers” that has been granted its own meet­ing Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., also in Kitch­ener, if the OHA’s meet­ing isn’t suc­cess­ful.

Those teams – 25 from all three ju­nior leagues – have tabled a con­densed pro­posal that would re­sult in Strauch re­turn­ing as chair while four other cur­rent direc­tors would be re­placed.

The 66-year-old sent a scathing email this week that was dis­trib­uted to mem­ber teams and called the OHA’s in­tegrity into ques­tion.

“The OHA has long been run by a very small group of in­di­vid­u­als with lit­tle or no re­gard for the mem­ber­ship but only the quest for power over the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he wrote. “There are cer­tain peo­ple in this group that have no prob­lem voic­ing their con­tempt and ab­so­lute ha­tred of some of your mem­ber­ship and it is abun­dantly clear that they will never sup­port any ini­tia­tive brought for­ward by these mem­bers whether it is good for the OHA or not.”

The On­tario Ju­nior Hockey League also dis­trib­uted an email with mul­ti­ple doc­u­ments en­ti­tled: Mem­ber facts vs. OHA fic­tion and democ­racy vs. dic­ta­tor­ship.

“The facts are that the OHA is try­ing to hi­jack your OHA,” one memo stated. “Please vote against the OHA’s res­o­lu­tion by ab­di­ca­tion on Sun­day. If you en­joy dic­ta­tor­ship, gov­er­nance by fear and fic­tion and want no voice, vote for the OHA.

“On Mon­day, you can help to build a new and im­proved OHA by re­plac­ing five direc­tors ... with five new direc­tors who will al­low the OHA re­struc­tur­ing com­mit­tee to get along with the re­struc­tur­ing process that we all en­dorsed in Al­lis­ton back in June.”

The meet­ings will be con­ducted by par­lia­men­tar­ian Ge­orge Meek. Each team and OHA di­rec­tor has one vote, which will be done by se­cret bal­lot. Vot­ing and tab­u­la­tion will be scru­ti­nized and au­dited in­de­pen­dently by OHF le­gal and ac­count­ing per­son­nel.

It was a huge de­ci­sion for us to re­sign and one that was emo­tional and dif­fi­cult. But this move is to save the in­sti­tu­tion.” OHA memo

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