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New Westminster hockey parents 'stunned, disgusted'
A coach suspended a year for fighting with another coach is on the 2012-13 New Westminster Minor Hockey Association (NWMHA) executive, a situation which has upset some parents.
During a bantam level playoff game in March, Kevin O’Quinn fought with an opposing coach in front of players from both teams. Both coaches received one-year suspensions, but later in the spring at the association’s annual general meeting, O’Quinn was elected first vice-president.
Temple Anderson, parent of a nine-year-old son who plays hockey, said at the AGM there was a report on discipline mentioning two coaches had been suspended, but no names were given. Later in the meeting, she said, O’Quinn was nominated but few who were there knew he had been one of those being banned from being a bench boss for a year.
Eventually, word leaked out in the minor hockey community.
“People are really stunned to find this out, really disgusted,” said Anderson. “To me if you’re punching somebody out in front of children, you’re not a member in good standing. How can a member who is not in good standing hold a position on the executive? This is a big one, this is violence in front of children. This is not a petty little thing.”
Since she found out, Anderson has been attempting to get the NWMHA to remove O’Quinn from the executive. She said the association’s constitution is “very lame” in dealing with such issues, and believes she has given the executive enough time to deal with it. So now Anderson intends to take her concerns to the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) and BC Hockey for some guidance.
A PCAHA representative told the NewsLeader the matter was up to New West Minor, saying being suspended as a coach does not preclude them from serving on an executive. Anderson believes it is something PCAHA should become involved with.
“They clearly need to address this,” she said. “They have to address this, they can’t just shove it under the rug.”
O’Quinn said the PCAHA has already determined he was eligible to be on the executive.
“Being suspended from coaching has nothing to do with being on the executive,” O’Quinn told the NewsLeader.
Those opposed to his election had an opportunity to raise the issue at the AGM, said O’Quinn before refusing to comment any further. “The fact they are going to the paper is silly and a waste of time.”
NWMHA president Rob Nasato did not respond to interview requests from the NewsLeader. Anderson said in email replies to her queries, Nasato declined to discuss the issue because it was a personnel matter. Anderson said it’s ironic that the league’s constitution calls for the first vice-president—O’Quinn’s role—to be responsible for discipline and to hear grievances.
“I’m not so sure someone who fights publicly in front of children should be in charge of discipline,” said Anderson.
However, she and other parents have been told that part of the job has been turned over to another executive member.