Hockey Coach Suspended For Good Deed

Some say sports and education don't always mix. James LeBeau has a feeling this isn't quite what they had in mind.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Many coaches across the world have been faced with suspensions and fines for disobeying rules. It's happened for years. For Brian Cranford, coach of the Mount Pearl Junior Blades, his recent punishment may just be one of the oddest, and dumbest of all.

Cranford, only a year removed from being awarded by Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, found himself on the other side of their attention when he was slapped with a one year suspension and $2000 fine for missing the opening ceremony of a recent tournament.

Sounds simple enough, until you hear the reason for his team missing the ceremony. He was allowing his players to study for exams.

“We had a good reason for not going,” Cranford told CBC News. “We’re right in the middle of university exams.”

That's right, Cranford made the horrendous act of allowing his players to take extra time to prepare for tests. This truly disgusting deed was enough for Hockey NL to level this overblown suspension, with the weak excuse that he broke a rule that says teams must attend events from start to finish.

"These are junior kids, they’re 18, 19, 20 years old,” Cranford said. “Because of our schedule, we had real issues trying to get a team iced for every game."

To make matters worse, Cranford says he gave notice to the governing body that the team wouldn't be able to make it to the ceremony. Apparently though, his excuse wasn't good enough.

Cranford, a volunteer coach, failed in his appeal to have the suspension and fine repealed. He has hired a lawyer and now plans to take the matter before Hockey Canada.

Let this be a lesson to all coaches out there who are attentive to their player's academic needs. You better make sure they don't get in the way of sports, or else it's your job! Or at least that's what Hockey NL wants you to believe anyway.

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on

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