CLA ponders national team managers’ demands
The chairman of Canada’s national lacrosse teams feels the Canadian Lacrosse Association is freezing out the managers who steered Canada to its greatest era of success.
The CLA issued a response on Nov. 1 to signed Oct. 22 letters from Canada’s four-man national team management group and national men’s team players with three demands.
Chairman Dean French, men’s director Dave Huntley, women’s director Gary Gait and indoor director John Mouradian requested improvements to national team insurance coverage, the resignation of two CLA board members and no changes to the national team policies and guidelines agreement created in 2012. If those demands are not met by March 31, the men say they will resign.
The Examiner has obtained a copy of the CLA board’s response sent to the management group and national team players.
The CLA acknowledged receipt of the management group’s letter stating, “You have raised several points which warrant serious consideration and therefore require the appropriate attention before providing a formal response. We trust that you will appreciate that we want to make the best decision for lacrosse in Canada.”
The board states it has been reviewing the national team program for the past year “with the objective of coming up with a plan that will help the program exceed its current successes.”
In the past five years, Canada’s U19 women’s team won its first ever gold medal and the senior women’s team its first silver medal at world championships. The men’s program won its third world field lacrosse title, the U19 men’s team a silver medal and the indoor men’s team won its third consecutive gold medal.
It marks the most successful five year stretch in national team history.
“We are all thrilled with the success on the field/floor however we all agree that improvement off the floor has to be
addressed so that we can serve our players, coaches and volunteers better,” states the board’s response.
The CLA states it will consider the management group’s three demands at its next meeting this weekend.
“At that time we will be continuing with our thorough review of the program and evaluating how we can best serve the lacrosse community. Your position will be given serious thought and once we have a comprehensive plan we will provide you with our formal response,” states the response.
French said from 2010 to 2015 he was invited by the CLA board to its AGM and semi-annual meeting to provide a national teams’ report. The CLA AGM is set for Friday through Sunday and this will be the fourth meeting in two years that French said he’s not been invited to attend, even though the CLA’s national team policies require a report from the national team’s chairman.
The management group worked with the CLA to come up with their 2012 agreement and if the CLA is working on a “comprehensive plan,” as it states in its response, French said it’s inconceivable the managers of the national team would not be included in the process.
“Just like out players and coaches, I’m grateful for the contribution that Gary Gait, Dave Huntley and Johnny Mouradian have made to lacrosse as players, coaches and now as leaders of Team Canada. There is a reason why they are all in the Hall of Fame,” French said.
“If this was hockey, and you already had Wayne Gretzky, Mike Babcock and Scotty Bowman leading the national program, I don’t think you would redesign Team Canada without consulting them, if your intention was to keep them involved.
“These guys are prepared to resign over unresolved issues facing national players and our sport. They have earned the respect and trust of our players and coaches over the years and it’s hard for me to see them treated this way.”
The management group requested CLA president Joey Harris and director Sohen Gill resign so the CLA could begin the process to regain its Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association (RCAAA) status.
The Canada Revenue Agency revoked its RCAAA status in 2010 for the CLA’s participation in a $60.7 million gifting program the CRA declared an “abusive tax shelter.” In 2012, the CRA indicated anyone on a board when RCAAA status was revoked must be removed for the organization to regain its status.
Without the status, the CLA lost its ability to issue charitable tax receipts which French maintains hampers the national team’s ability to attract sponsors and donations. Two weeks ago, national team players announced the creation of the National Lacrosse Team Players Association. They are requesting representation on the CLA board.
The board stated in its response it will have no further comment prior to their next meeting.
From left, Peterborough's Erica Evans, Katie Donohoe and Allison Daley show off the silver meals they won with Team Canada at the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Cup of Women's Lacrosse in Guildford, England on in July.