With the June 23rd ousting of Luis Diaz as President of the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association with 11 months remaining on his two-year term, the current powers-that-be appear to have gotten their way. Moving forward, they have no choice but to "put up or shut up".
Diaz, who I worked with throughout last season while penning a regular contribution to BC Hockey Now called "The Prez Box", was always an accommodating, engaging and eloquent speaker. There was no question in my mind that his focus was to find ways to make KMHA a successful, progressive and accountable business. With approximately 1,200 athletes and over 100 coaches, the reality is that KMHA is a huge operation.
According to the Kelowna Daily Courier, newly elected president Leonie Popoff said “the straw that broke the camel‘s back was the firing of our administrator. The board immediately rejected that firing and held a vote of non-confidence.” This, of course, references the action taken by Diaz a few months ago after assessing the dollars being spent on what he termed frequently as a "part-time position".
As was also reported in the Daily Courier, the KMHA website indicates that “with tonight's decision finalized, the board of directors can now focus on conducting the association‘s business, and, most importantly, allow us to move in a direction that supports the development of the players in our association."
In my opinion, the KMHA website has long been a terrible piece of work, so perhaps one order of business for the new regime might be to find some Internet savvy and aptitude that could result in building a site and managing content in a manner that reflects the fact that KMHA is an organization that is among the top half dozen in size accross British Columbia. After all, this is a primary communications vehicle for KMHA.
Diaz, who I spoke with in April, told me that he simply felt things had to change within the operational structure of KMHA. "With or without me, I just think this has to change," he said of what he as often referred to as "old guard" hijinx.
And so, with Diaz gone, there will likely be individuals who will now feel they have accomplished something of signifigance. One wonders now what the new old guard will come up with to move the business of minor hockey forward in Kelowna.
And, for what it's worth, Kelowna is not the only locale that has been forced to deal with uncomfortable issues relating to minor hockey.
In Kamloops a couple of seasons ago, a house party at the home of the president of the local minor hockey association included underage drinking. A youngster was hospitalized...alcohol poisoning. The Kamloops Daily News did a commendable job of keeping tabs on the developments. It was a bizarre incident that brought to light what might be viewed by some as some very evident decision-making disorders.
And in Vernon last season, the minor hockey association came under fire when an issue arose involving a player, his coach and the player's parents. Ultimately, BC Hockey suspended the entire team and villified Vernon Minor Hockey for its handling of the situation.
So, what's next in these parts? Stay tuned...the 2009 - 2010 season is just a couple of months away.