Bobby Mac brings the hammer pic.twitter.com/tmPPX4FiwD
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) September 26, 2017
Early in September, representatives of 17 hockey organizations — including the NHL, NHLPA and the CHL — made a big to-do of unveiling what they call the Declaration of Principles.
If you dig into the WHL website you will find a news release that includes this:
“This joint statement advocates the game of hockey as a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills that transcend the game.”
An eight-point platform that begins with “We believe . . .” includes this: “All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, colour, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.”
If you are able to find the original news release, you will find a whole lot of words. You will read it, your eyes may glaze over, and you may think, “OK, ideally this is fine. But let’s put the words into action.”
And then along came Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
To that point, U.S. President Donald Trump had spent his weekend slighting the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors and their unequivocal leader Steph Curry, something that resulted in a tweet from LeBron James that quickly became the most-retweeted and most-liked tweet in Twitter’s brief history.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
Trump also took time to inflame NFL players and owners, suggesting to supporters in Huntsville, Ala., on Friday that “son of a bitch” players who don’t stand for the U.S. anthem should be fired by those same owners, a few of whom had donated US$1 million apiece to Trump’s cause.
Players who had acted in this fashion were mostly blacks who weren’t — REPEAT: WEREN’T — protesting the U.S. anthem or the country’s flag. They have been protesting social injustice — primarily inequality and police violence against blacks. By the time Trump got through with his Alabama speech and a tweetfest that followed, he had managed to do the seemingly impossible by uniting NFL players and owners, with many of the latter issuing statements slamming Trump for his comments.
As well, the movement that started with Colin Kaepernick now has been joined by white football players, baseball players, a CFL team and entertainers. Even anthem singers went to their knees, either during or after they performed.
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) September 25, 2017
Which brings us to the Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins who, in a stroke of incredibly bad timing, chose to inject themselves into this discussion in the middle of a red-hot NFL Sunday by tweeting a statement that revealed they “have accepted an invitation to attend” the White House and meet with Trump, who has proven on numerous occasions to be a white supremacist and a racist.
The Penguins, obviously blind to the irony, included a photo from their last White House visit. That photo shows 21 men, all of whom appear to be white, with then-President Barack Obama, who isn’t white.
The Penguins two-paragraph statement concluded:
“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”
The Penguins, given an opportunity to prove that hockey’s Declaration of Principles is for real, chose instead to shoot a giant-sized hole in it. They will visit with this shockingly inept man who has led the world closer to nuclear war than it perhaps has ever been and appears to have been in bed with the Russians, who sure seem to have helped him win an election.
The Penguins, then, had an opportunity to stand up for hockey’s Declaration of Principles, to prove that in their world hockey really “is for everyone.”
Instead, they chose to remain neutral on a day when everyone was picking a side.
If was President John F. Kennedy who, having read Dante’s Inferno, came up with this interpretation from one part: “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”
The 2018 World Junior Championship is to be played in Buffalo, with Team Canada and Team USA scheduled to meet in an outdoor game on Dec. 29, 3 p.m. ET. Single tickets to that game went on sale Monday morning, priced from US$45 to US$137. Yes, I think I’ll stay home and watch on TV, too. . . .
F Brett Howden should be in the Moose Jaw Warriors’ lineup when they next play on Friday against the visiting Regina Pats. The Warriors’ captain was returned to the Warriors by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. . . .
The Prince Albert Raiders have released D Lane Kirk, 17, from their roster. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, with whom he played last season. The Stampeders play out of Kirk’s hometown of Swan River, Man. . . . A fifth-round pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, he had one assist in three games with the Raiders last season. He didn’t play in either of the Raiders’ first two games this season. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen released D Jakob LaPointe, 19, on Monday. From Leduc, Alta., he was in his third season with the Hitmen. He had seven assists in 48 games last season, after recording four assists in 42 games in 2015-16. He was pointless in one game this season. . . .
The Regina Pats have signed D Samuel McGinley, 15, who was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. From Calgary, he played last season with the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Minor Bantam Hockey League, putting up five goals and five assists in 36 games. This season, he is playing with the Edge School Elite 15s in Calgary.