Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

 

by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail

 

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to the States was how much I had taken CBC News for granted. In the U.S. news is a commodity and various stations are selling different version of that commodity hoping to attract an audience. The problem with this approach is that you make decisions based on what you think will please your audience rather than on what serves the story best. This is why people who vote Republican often have very different versions of the facts than people who vote Democrat. These groups are, almost literally, living in two different worlds.

 

Canadians often complain that CBC is biased in one way or another. I suspect that as you watched Peter Mansbridge on your TV or computer, none of those concerns ever entered your mind. I suspect also that you were glad the CBC didn’t have a mandate to put anything that might be true on the air just so they could say they were first. Speaking for myself, I was incredibly proud of the work CBC did on Wednesday as the story unfolded. In light of the massive cuts in the past and coming months, we need to ask ourselves how much we value having a public broadcaster. This week reminded me of the incredible worth of the news wing of the CBC.

 

On to the sports media stories of the week …

 

Unpaid Labour & Student Athletes

 

The CHL is facing a massive $180 million dollar class-action lawsuit. This story has been brewing for a while and presumably the CHL has been planning their legal strategy for some time. The facts are that athletes are not paid a minimum wage for their work or time, but instead have access to various small pots of money for expense reimbursement and training. They get free sticks and skates and live and eat rent free. They also have support services regarding mental health, doping, and concussions.

 

The most contentious piece of the CHL’s benefits package concerns educational scholarships which are not automatically guaranteed to all players, and vary in terms of amount and duration. Several news outlets have been all over this story, as well as regular reader and commenter Steve Clark. Mike Toth has a different angle, arguing that if you pay the players this detracts from the appeal of minor sports. As (almost) always, Rick Westhead is the person to consult for nuanced journalism on sports business issues.

 

The reason I am focusing on these scholarships is that they are being used as the justification for not playing the players. This is basically what the NCAA says: we give students a free ride to university and that is compensation for the time they spend playing. That is why they are student-athletes, not employees of the university. The CHL is helping itself to the same rhetoric and approach in dealing with this lawsuit.

 

The biggest questions with which I am left are the following: 1) what percentage of players who will play in the league this year will have access to a full tuition scholarship at the end of the year? and 2) what percentage of those players will actually use the scholarship after they stop playing in the CHL? In the absence of answers to these questions, the educational scholarship piece is mostly puffery. It’s all fine to have a scholarship program but if players aren’t able or willing to use it, then it has little value.

 

David Branch made the rounds this week to state his case, which boils down to this: we think it’s better to give players a package of benefits rather than pay them. The obvious question is: why not both? The league already engages in revenue sharing to prop up the poor teams. So even if paying the players would be costly, there is already a mechanism in place to distribute that burden.

 

Naylor had a good interview which brought out the fact that compensation has not really been tied to league profitability, and that the league is making good money. But if you have to listen to only one interview with Branch, Brunt was at his best on PTS this week. Brunt clearly had done some research and came armed with a line of questioning and pursued it as Branch tried his best to downplay the issue of a minimum wage. The best example was him getting Branch to admit that educational benefits are negotiated individually with each player rather than being a basic entitlement for all players.

 

I am fairly open-minded about solutions to the CHL’s labour exploitation problem. Perhaps a minimum wage is too much, given all the other benefits players receive. Perhaps a better option is to create a trust with a minimum amount which increases based on games played, and have the player take control of it when his playing days are over. Further, as Naylor pointed out, the issues look different if we are talking about 16 and 17 year old than if we are talking about 18-20 year olds. Older players are incurring opportunity costs by playing in the CHL while younger ones would presumably still be finishing high school.

 

Complex issues to be sure, but the flaws with the status quo are not hard to see. If you are making money off players, you should compensate them fairly. Minimum wage is a good place to start.

 

Rogers’ Rough Week

 

Profits were down, HNIC ratings were down, and Jays season ticket prices went up. Also, new CEO Guy Lawrence put the world on alert that he’s kind of a jerk. The central issue is Rogers’ new camera angles which are exclusive to Rogers customers even though everyone pays the same for GamePlus regardless of who your wireless provider is.

 

If you grew up during the Playstation v Xbox era then the idea of exclusives is nothing new to you and this is largely a non-issue. Still, the CRTC has competition clauses and they might as well enforce them. What seems clear is that Rogers and Bell could make a killing if they produced a reality-TV show based on what happens in the MLSE boardroom.

 

This week we were treated to a verbal slap fight by the spokespeople. Here are the highlights:

 

  • Rogers: “Clearly this programming is not designed for conventional TV. Conventional TV broadcasts the exact same program to a mass audience who all see the same content, presented the same way … With GamePlus, each fan has a unique experience. … We wouldn’t have developed [the features] solely for broadcast use … it’s a shame that [BCE-owned] Bell is trying to stop innovation in hockey. This may be one of the reasons they failed to secure the rights in the first place. … We’ve invested in significant new innovations to bring Canadians an enhanced experience.”

 

  • Bell: “We don’t see it as especially innovative that Rogers denies GameCentre consumers access to these stats and other features if they aren’t also Rogers internet or wireless customers. These consumers pay for GameCentre just like Rogers customers so why are they denied access to features available on regular broadcast TV anyway? It breaks the CRTC’s digital media rules, and it impacts all GameCentre consumers across Canada who love hockey but aren’t Rogers customers.”

 

Hard to cheer for anyone here since Bell would likely be doing the same thing if the roles were reversed. I know we blame Gary Bettman for a lot of things already, but I’d like to add ‘making our already painful lives under the Bell/Rogers oligopoly worse‘ to the list of his crimes against Canadians.

 

Quick Hits

 

The Voynov domestic violence arrest gave the media the opportunity to stuff Bettman’s dumb quote about how NHL players know how to behave back in his face. Macko&Cauz were on the air as the news broke on Monday and did a nice job of handling the scraps of information live. I was especially glad to hear them note that “arrested” and “convicted” are different legal standards. They nicely folded in a discussion of how public figures are held to higher standards than others, and that this affects how leagues should think about the presumption of innocence. Chris Johnston had a good piece about how a suspension would affect the salary cap. Sadly, I can’t link to it without assaulting you with an auto-play ad. Apparently Rogers’ conception of innovation includes making you watch video ads in order to read opinion pieces.

 

The Chronicle has a summary of the findings from a report that was just released on the academic fraud that took place at UNC Chapel Hill. As you’ll recall, the Af-Am department was offering sham classes and as we have now discovered, the grading was done by a secretary rather than by the nominal faculty in charge. The details are damning, and shine a light on how various people would forge signatures, and let faculty know what grades athletes needed for eligibility purposes. The fact that Af-Am was the epicenter of the scandal has led to lots of racist glee from various corners, but this is partly muted because no matter how racist you are, you still want to cheer for your preferred university. I hope someone finds a way to get a class-action lawsuit going on behalf of students whose degrees are tainted by these scandals. Currently there is too much money to be made by pretending that college athletes are students. If the university all of a sudden came to see academic fraud on behalf of athletes as too costly then we might see some positive change. There are some congressional rumblings that the a day of reckoning is coming for the NCAA.

 

David Alter has been hired by MapleLeafs.com and Marlies.com to write game stories and profiles. Good for him for finding work in a crowded marketplace.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Tim&Sid cranked up the moral outrage machine regarding the Blue Jays’ ticket price increase. Question for those who listen on a regular basis: since this has become a semi-regular aspect of their show, do you find their outrage sincere or is this just a bit?

 

  • Erin Andrews botched a World Series interview pretty badly. Her shelf life might be getting close to expiring.

 

  • There is some controversy about a story of Gareth Wheeler’s and Jermaine DeFoe’s mum. Can someone break this down for me? I had a hard time following it.

 

  • Congratulations to Brady&Walker for having Peter Mansbridge on the day after the shooting. That’s a high profile “get” for, I presume, Ryan Fabro.

 

—-

 

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

A special thanks again to Howard Berger for talking to me last week.

Until next time …

mike (in boston)

 

 

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 58
  • comment-avatar
    mario 2 years

    Thanks for another good read and your thoughts. Agreed that if the shoe was on the other foot Bell would have have followed the same path as Rogers and make it exclusive for their own customers.Now we truly see the hatred the have for one another,and the sting they feel in losing the NHL rights. There is a lot at stake in programing rights and the advertising dollars they generate. It is going to take a lot to make up $ 5.2 billion. Both are going to try to get as much money out of our pockets as they can. Shame on both of them.

  • comment-avatar
    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    Well put about the Stephen Brunt performance in the PTS interview with David Branch. It was almost the prepared, wise, integrity-driven Brunt of old. To his credit, too, Bob McCown pretty much let Brunt run with it – commendable given McCown’s oft-stated admiration of Branch.

  • comment-avatar
    Claire A Fye 2 years

    I don’t agree that if the shoe were on the other foot, Bell would have done the same thing. They haven’t in the past. The issue is money. Rogers believes they spent a lot of money for the rights and they want to get that money back. But if I spent my money on getting GamesPlus, or GameCentre, the supplier shouldn’t matter. It’s another reason Rogers are a bunch of crooks. It also reflects pretty poorly on the NHL. They should be stepping in here… but don’t count on it.

  • comment-avatar
    alex 2 years

    Brunt continued on the offensive on the CHL on the royndtable, sparring with Bob and Shannon in the middle. It prob didbt help Bob was in a bad mood from.being stuck in traffic and missing the start of the show.

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby G 2 years

    Bell did it last year with the NFL app. You had to be a Bell customer just to be able to buy the live game feed. If you were in the States, it was Verizon. So, yes, Bell would (and has) done it with the shoe on the other foot.

  • comment-avatar
    Claire A Fye 2 years

    @Bobby G Not exactly the same. Bell was piggybacking on Verizon product… Rogers is doing it themselves

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby G 2 years

    @ Claire A Fye: C’mon. Rogers and Verizon are really, really evil because they did this? But Bell was just an innocent bystander hoping to spread beauty and light throughout the land? The genesis might be different but the net effect was EXACTLY the same. Let’s not try to paint halos around either Bell or Rogers. They’re both out for the same thing: to make money. It’s not a secret or a shame, it’s what all businesses do. But let’s not pretend Bell wouldn’t have done the same thing had they been on the ball, because they did.

  • comment-avatar
    Claire A Fye 2 years

    @Bobby G I don’t KNOW if Bell would do the same thing ( and neither do you)…I just know they didn’t when they had the national rights. Part of the problem with making statements like yours is you say this is a fact…it’s your opinion. You throw away the line “the genesis might be different”. It IS different, and it makes a big difference. And that’s what’s called a fact. Over to you

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby G 2 years

    @ Claire A Fye: Except that it isn’t different. Poor old Bell just had to keep those NFL rights exclusive. They had no choice. Hands were tied. Innocent as the die is long. Go ahead and continue to be an apologist for them, just don’t expect anyone else to swallow it. Another fact: Bell and TSN didnt have the same exclusivity on the national digital rights deal with the NHL because they didn’t own them. They didn’t do it because the couldn’t. I’m sorry that fact also gets in the way of this false scenario you’ve set up. Back to you for insight on the imaginary land where Bell can do no wrong…

  • comment-avatar
    Elvis 2 years

    I’m pretty sure Sid is the FAN’s biggest star right now so, real or fake, his outrage bits are here to stay.

  • comment-avatar
    Ken 2 years

    I agree with @Elvis, Sid’s childish rants are here to stay. Ever since he had his ‘hamster on a piano’ YouTube moment with his outrage over figure skating, he has tried to re-capture that.

    I look at Sid as Mike Toth 2.0, lets see where he is in 5 years time.

  • comment-avatar
    yaz 2 years

    I miss Ron Maclean on Saturday nights. Damien Cox? Really? And PJ Stock is back?

    The game call by Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Glen Healy is fing offensive. We Leafs fans are reacting by not watching. Leafs Nation drives HNIC ratings and, more importantly to Rogers: revenue. Give us who the F we want to call the game, not these droning, monotone gonads. Hughson may as well be replaced by a Muppet. Who cares if the rest of Canada hates Leafs game-call homers? The rest of Canada hates us anyway and we’re ten times the market. Less of Canada is forced to watch Leafs games with more national broadcasts – make Leafs nation a meal it wants to eat and we’ll keep ordering more and more of it.

    I turn off the HNIC sound and listen to Joe Bowen even though the TSN radio feed is 10 seconds off ( a little finesse on the PVR & you can almost sync the feeds )- then listen to Tatti and O’Neill between periods and after the game. I learn nothing from these ham-handed demonstrations with Kyper and Hrudey farting around with a puck on that clumsy set. Guys in suits shooting a puck around, really? But maybe those demos are for the glossy-eyed-toddlers-dozing-off demographic. They stole the idea from FOX NFL. I’m no NFL fan but I glean nothing from Fox’s demos.

    My guess is Rogers HNIC 1.0 is the product of a lot of favours made and politicking done by all the on-air people, agents, managers, Producers etc. Rogers HNIC 2.0 will come after some hard decisions have been made & egos smashed. Falling ratings will make that happen sooner rather than later.

    Rogers should merge with Bell and rebrand as Robbers.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 2 years

    Just listened to the roundtable and, during the CHL segment, Brunt was outstanding. I’ve been a critic of his recently for being a “company man” and for being largely irrelevant as a journalist since Rogers got their hook in, but he was the Brunt of old this week. And it was good to hear. Calling bullshit on Bob’s buddy and having Bob get all indignant about it was great radio.

  • comment-avatar
    yaz 2 years

    @Curt what day was that CHL roundtable? Trying to find the audio online.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 2 years

    It was on Friday’s 5:00 PTS podcast: http://www.sportsnet.ca/590/prime-time-sports/. It’s a ways into the podcast – you have to endure the usual opening banter.

    Agree with you on Jim Hughson, btw. I don’t understand why he’s the #1 guy. He is, and always has been, lame…

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 2 years

    I presume brunt and arthur’s sports roundtable spot on radio is likely over now given the news about the show’s host and his termination.

  • comment-avatar
    Nanaman 2 years

    Hey, since Rogers has strombo, maybe they’ll hire the recently fired Ghomeshi to create a real artsy feel to hockey.

  • comment-avatar
    Nanaman 2 years

    Definitely saying it facetiously

  • comment-avatar
    Steve 2 years

    ‘The biggest questions with which I am left are the following: 1) what percentage of players who will play in the league this year will have access to a full tuition scholarship at the end of the year? and 2) what percentage of those players will actually use the scholarship after they stop playing in the CHL? In the absence of answers to these questions, the educational scholarship piece is mostly puffery. It’s all fine to have a scholarship program but if players aren’t able or willing to use it, then it has little value.’

    Its actually not that hard if you pay the slightest attention to the CHL

    1. Every player who plays a single game is entitled to 1/2 a year. Play a second game in another semester, you get the full year. Basically, if you play a year, you get a year (usually between 7K-15K per player)

    2. What players will use it? Not enough, but sadly thats not in the hands of the league, players have 18 months after (until 22) to access it. For some reason they opt to play minor pro for years (although those players may not be school kids). Either way, the CHL cant force them to take it.

    My kid plays in the league, and to be honest no one seems all that upset with the set up. You’ll noticed those attached to the lawsuit are those who lasted less then a year and are looking to place blame on others for their sons faults (no active players are in the lawsuit)

    Its to bad media doesn’t bring that up players thoughts like former player Spencer Abraham
    https://twitter.com/Spencer5Abraham/status/524586072093650946

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 2 years

    Like Blair’s new Sportsnet column a lot. Nothing deep, but always some good tidbits.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/rays-relocation-talks-could-be-montreals-gain/

  • comment-avatar
    Charlie Brown 2 years

    @daniel 100%… his writing is excellent. Wish he’d just focus on that. Seems he’s got too much on the go when you listen to him.

    Sid’s over the top but at least his rants seem thought out and not forced. Unlike others on the station.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 2 years

    @Claire A Frye

    Rogers and Bell have a fierce rivery dating back to the early ninety’s when Cantel became canada’a first national cell phone company. Ever since then the two companies have done everything to aquire customers. Don’t be surprised about this strategy that Rogers is using because there is exclusivity to most things these guys do. Exclusivity drives some of their business slogans “Only available on bell” “Not available on Bell” “fewest drop calls”Rogers Media just has to realize that although we are talking about a decade and a bit of broadcast rights, so many things in that time can go wrong. Especially for a company that’s been an underdog in coverage of the sport for so long. This strategy of blocking out bell subsribers from access to the app speaks somewhat to the fact that Rogers is hemeraging customers in the wireless space. Rogers may be laughing right now at the fact that Bell has a massive hole in their programming on wednsday and saturday nights however look at these three keys . A. I just mentioned Rogers is hemeraging cable and wireless customers because t of subscribers cutting their cable and wireless customer defecting to discount brand cell phone companies, their cable and wireless business is pivitol to this beast which they have taken on. So let’s sum it up right now Rogers has three things working against them 1. Modest wireless subscriber aquisition 2. Massive subscriber loss on the cable side. 3. Very mediocre editorials during games, lots of bright lights very dim analysis. Pelly and company should think about certain strategy’s(like the app strategy) befor executing, because it could very well backfire.

  • comment-avatar
    FMW 2 years

    Branch was sounding really bad vs Brunt. Branch had the attitude of “Hey I give them basic necessities, what more do you want!!!

    I like Sid, at times i roll my eyes with the outrage. But most of the time it’s entertaining. I do like his Blue Jays rants a lot.

    I heard Rogers is in trouble and this NHL deal has no way of making it’s money back

  • comment-avatar
    Andrew 2 years

    Steve – It probably doesn’t help Mr Abraham make his point when he spells education wrong.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 2 years

    Wow,

    The fan is truly showing who they put there political support behind last night. Interviewing Bob Rae about Tory’s victory is blantantly throwing things in the face of ford and chow. Im sure there would be no interview if their beloved and business collegue John Tory did not win. Let the corporate tax breaks and the Rogers centre renovations begin. Tory is quite familar with the board rooms of both Bell and Rogers.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve 2 years

    @Andrew

    Let those who have never made a spelling mistake throw the first stone, especially on a phone.

    If that’s all you took out of that note, then so be it, your mind may already be closed.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 2 years

    Apparently Richard Peddie supported the progressive politics of Olivia Chow.

    Richard Peddie @RichardAPeddie · 17 hours ago
    227k voted for @oliviachow progressive agenda Hope @johntoryTO reads Goodwin’s book on Lincoln “Team of Rivals” & decides to reach out 2 her

    Richard Peddie @RichardAPeddie · 5 hours ago
    Thank you @oliviachow for championing the progressive ideas that #topoli needs to be really great

    Damien also took a break from hockey to tweet politics.

    Damien Cox @DamoSpin · 17 hours ago
    Olivia Chow is cute but a tad nutty. She’d be a nice neighbour, but mayor?

    Damien Cox @DamoSpin · 18 hours ago
    Frightening just how moronic the citizens of Etobicoke North are. My word.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 2 years

    Adam Proteau’s travails with Rogers.

    Adam Proteau @Proteautype · Oct 24
    .@RogersHelps advertises show “Peaky Blinders” on Super Channel service. Adam buys Super Channel service. Peaky Blinders not available.

    Adam Proteau @Proteautype · Oct 24
    Call @RogersHelps 2 weeks ago. They blame Super Channel. Email Super Channel. They blame @RogersHelps. Call @RogersHelps back.

    Adam Proteau @Proteautype · Oct 24
    So Adam calls @RogersHelps again today, waits on hold 80 MINUTES to be told @RogersHelps DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO CONTENT TO AIR THE SERIES.

    Adam Proteau @Proteautype · Oct 24
    So, to recap: @RogersHelps falsely advertises content, tells subscribers a problem is fixed when it isn’t. Hell of a company.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 2 years

    Seymon Varlamov accused in civil lawsuit of beating girlfriend multiple times

    http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/10/27/7078829/seymon-varlamov-lawsuit-domestic-assault-violence

    “In one particularly graphic description of an alleged crime, the lawsuit claims that during a June 2013 vacation, “[Varlamov’s] repeated attacks caused Vavrinyuk to bleed all over the hotel room floor and furnishings.” It also claims that “Varlamov pleaded with Vavrinyuk to help him clean” and that she did so, “but not before photographing some of the bloody mess.””

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 2 years

    Damien Cox @DamoSpin · 17 hours ago
    Olivia Chow is cute but a tad nutty. She’d be a nice neighbour, but mayor?

    Damien Cox @DamoSpin · 18 hours ago
    Frightening just how moronic the citizens of Etobicoke North are.

    So if you don’t agree with Cox you are either nutty or a moron.

  • comment-avatar
    Lee (Oakville) 2 years

    The interesting thing about Cox’s comment about Olivia Chow is that if if had come from another source, say Rob Ford or someone from a non-Star newspaper, they would have been vilified as sexist and possibly racist. Why did Cox get a free ride? In my mind, either because he’s part of the media establishment or because he’s an intellectual lightweight. Most likely probably due to both reasons.

    On a related note, when did sports journalists start feeling the need to spread their political opinions around like a bad case of halitosis? They barely have the capability of explaining the wild-card system in hockey but feel free to expouse on the nuances of Middle Eastern politics. Shame on them for having the arrogance and shame on us for listening to them.

  • comment-avatar
    alex 2 years

    Or …

    Sportswriters are humsn beings too and allowed to have opinions on things outside of their specific job.

    Of course, their employers might not want then to express them, lest they alienate readers/viewers.

  • comment-avatar

    Re: CHL Lawsuit. I wrote one of the pieces that Mike was alluding to in regards to the CHL lawsuite, and I wrote it from the perspective or someone who has a working knowledge of the law (I’m a law teacher, not a lawyer) and who is in my 8th year with the OHL as a broadcaster. David Branch, rightly so, got held to some tough questioning no doubt about, and he has some tough questions to answer. What has not happened yet in the media is an accurate reporting of some of the changes made to the compensation structure in the OHL (up to $470 a month, $1000 off ice training, more relaxed timelines to access education package). I heard it on TSN radio and on Prime Time John Shannon stated Jr. Hockey players worked 50 hours a week, and then backtracked to 30. That’s quite a descrepency! Part of this is on the CHL who do need to become a little more transparent. The process, is however, slowly evolving and hopefully changes will be made yearly. It’s a far better solution than shot gun class actions and unionization. The opportunists, not the league wins then.
    Now there is the added pressure of certain NCAA Conferences (Big 10 for one), looking to guarantee their 4 year scholarship offers, regardless of whether a player gets injured etc. Junior hockey needs to take a close look at this and react accordingly.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve 2 years

    Thanks Steve,

    That’s kind of the point I was trying to get at with referencing the tweet by Abraham. The point is (ignoring the gentleman who focused on grammar) that those of us actually involved with the CHL, from a parent/player perspective, don’t really have that big of an an issue with how its played out. Sure things could be better, and they get better every year, but the players are treated well and taken care of.

    My biggest issue are people who are not involved with the league coming out and making statements (your example about John Shannon is perfect) that are simply untrue. Its like when media everywhere was reporting that CHL players where forming a union, when it was actually just a guy from Montreal who has a history of fraud.

    Why don’t those members of the media do a bit of research before making these statements? Why do they just look at the lawsuit and assume that its correct? One statement I recently heard that it was ‘players in the league’. Well, Sam Berg played 6 weeks before he was re-assigned to Jr B, I wouldn’t call him ‘players in the league’, thus far no active players have been named, yet that still continues to be the narrative.

    If your not even sure of the structure of how the CHL operates, how can you possibly have a strong opinion on something like this?

  • comment-avatar
    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    What has also not received wide coverage is that the OHL’s increased level of monthly remuneration is not the same across the CHL. Branch is typically cherrypicking the CHL’s success stories, but omitting “the rest of the story.” This behaviour is among the reasons why he is under increased scrutiny.

  • comment-avatar
    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    @ Steve and @ Steve Clark,

    Another issue is Branch’s repeated use of the “student-athlete” term. For all its ails, the NCAA is solid in one area. To be a “student-athlete,” a young man or woman must both be enrolled and deemed eligible. While most CHL players qualify as “student-athletes, not all do … and legally that’s going to be a challenge for Branch to defend. We all know of CHL players who, at one time or another, are not in school. And, often, their club has them report to the team office on school days to do work, volunteer or otherwise, in lieu of being in class. The team wisely does not want them sitting at their billet’s home playing video games at 11 a.m. … but how is this extra work compensated for young men who, despite Branch’s grand statements, are not “student-athletes.” To say that some of these young men may … perhaps … go to school someday … is simply not good enough.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve 2 years

    ‘ We all know of CHL players who, at one time or another, are not in school. ‘

    I can only speak for my sons team, but every player is enrolled in school and must maintain a certain average to play. They also provide tutors for the kids to ensure they pass test.

    This is the problem, the ‘we all know’ rhetoric. I don’t, because my first hand experiences suggest otherwise.

    ‘What has also not received wide coverage is that the OHL’s increased level of monthly remuneration is not the same across the CHL.’

    Whats not receiving coverage is the fact that there was an increase in remuneration. Every (im generalizing) article suggests that player payments have not gone up in 50 years, when in fact they have, more then once.

    So actually, its the opposite Mike, no one’s taking about the raised renumeration at all.

  • comment-avatar
    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    @ Steve

    If every member of your son’s team is enrolled in school and maintaining a qualifying standard, that’s great. Congratulations. It is not that way across the CHL, particularly when second semester hits and a number of players decide to “work on hockey” full-time.

    As for the remuneration, articles I have read and reports I have heard from journalists who cover the CHL, particularly the OHL, have cited the same $470/month rate you referred to earlier. Only one I know of, the excellent Sunaya Sapurji, has brought up that it is not consistent across the CHL. There are some players in the CHL who are still receiving the $60 or $75/week rate that many critics continue to harp about. Why it is this way, who knows? David Branch has, to my knowledge, not addressed this inconsistency. I can only assume it’s a league-by-league thing … that the Q’s directors, for instance, didn’t want to pay up as quickly as the OHL’s directors did.

    Also, is every OHL player receiving the $470/month rate, or is the rate increased for older players, those 19 and 20? I don’t know. Do you?

  • comment-avatar
    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    @ Steve

    Another question: Is it true that all OHL players in high school automatically have a no-move clause now? If so, that is a truly progressive development … and one the OHL should be commended for. Back when it had to be negotiated by the individual player’s agent, that clause was often only reserved for high draft choices.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve 2 years

    @Mike

    Yes, its now standard. Don’t know the history behind it but understand it was recommended from a focus group.

    ‘If every member of your son’s team is enrolled in school and maintaining a qualifying standard, that’s great. Congratulations. It is not that way across the CHL, particularly when second semester hits and a number of players decide to “work on hockey” full-time.’

    But this is my issue Mike, you just said that ‘every’ team has players that are not in school. I provided an example of where you where wrong. Where you generalizing? Are you now? I don’t know this is true, and you shouldn’t either based on our past conversation.

    ‘Also, is every OHL player receiving the $470/month rate, or is the rate increased for older players, those 19 and 20? I don’t know. Do you?’

    $470 is for every player, 20 year olds get up to $1000 to my understanding, but I could be corrected.

    ‘As for the remuneration, articles I have read and reports I have heard from journalists who cover the CHL, ‘

    But thats not what I said, I said journalists who are reporting on this (see the JOhn Shannon comment) are presenting facts without actually looking into these facts. That doesn’t sound like journalism to me….

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    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    @ Steve

    That focus group would be the one formed last summer, in part due to the Terry Trafford tragedy? If so, the work done by that group has had a positive effect.

    Back to the focus of the column, that being media …

    When it comes to the OHL specifically, there are two basic groups:

    1. The folks who cover the league very well, week after week, year after year. These radio, newspaper and increasingly digital reporters have good contacts, they actually go to the games, and they generally report responsibly. Unfortunately, many of them are based in smaller markets and don’t have the mass coverage of the second group.

    2. The national TV and big-city radio and newspaper reporters and commentators, often based in Toronto, who mostly focus on junior hockey when there’s controversy. A few know the game and the business; a majority don’t. That is to what you are referring? This second group can be both good and bad; the good is that they can bring wider exposure to issues and often land good guests (i.e., look at how many interviews Branch did last week), and the bad is that they either don’t dig deep enough or, in this case, perhaps try to dig too deep and they don’t know for what.

    The example of John Shannon was brought up. I’ve never been a fan, but I admit that in this case I am somewhat surprised if he has misspoken. That’s because, a few years ago, Shannon was working closely with the CHL/OHL as a media advisor. He worked with Branch’s office to coordinate/improve broadcasts at the local level. If there’s anyone in the Toronto media world who should know how the CHL operates, it is Shannon.

    Hope your son’s season is going well.

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    Mike S 2 years

    Michael Grange on PTS yesterday:

    “I would not pitch Madison Bumgarner at all in tonight’s Game 7”

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    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    @ Mike S

    That’s great! Famous last words, indeed.

    I suppose we now know why Michael is not managing in the Majors.

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    Curt 2 years

    You know, I disagree with virtually everything that Grange says or writes. Even though I can’t stand Cox, I do on occasion, agree with some of his points. Not Grange though – the prince of hyperbole. I remember him talking about how Sidney Crosby is the greatest hockey player of all time – it wasn’t even close, he said. I’m not saying I dislike him though – he’s just always wrong, LOL!

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    Mike S 2 years

    Grange said this on PTS (I think it was last year) about Crosby:

    “The very best players deserve multiple championships. If Crosby ends his career with only one Cup it will be a travesty. I will be extremely disappointd if that happens”

    Grange definitely does say some really strange things at times

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    Curt 2 years

    What did he say about Andrew Wiggins when he committed to Kansas? Something like, “He’s going to do things that you’ve never seen before.” Meh… I think he even compared him to Jordan at some point. I’m not saying he won’t be a great player, but easy does it, man.

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    alex 2 years

    Grange comes off to me as a nice, thoughtful fellow with a bunch of left field ideas.

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    Sam 2 years

    Great segment on PTS tonight with derek boogaards father

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    yaz 2 years

    @Sam Yes. The Boogard interview has a bearing on all Sports, pro or otherwise.

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    Alex 2 years

    cox and healy on hockey central? They must have figured everyone would be too busy on Hallowe’en to watch or listen.

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    Antonio 2 years

    Cox is even more a “company man’ than Brunt. I follow him on twitter just to get evidence on him. He consistently has the pom-poms out for anything Rogers does.

    As for election night, it was obvious he and several other Rogerites were waving the pom poms for Tory.

    He’s a hack – an unskilled journalist who’s now trying his hand at TV. He’s failed at the former, and is failing at the later.

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    GreyCountyMike 2 years

    TSN’s Rick Westhead just continues to prove to be the hire of the year. He has yet another bombshell lawsuit piece that hits at the business of junior hockey: http://www.tsn.ca/westhead-lawsuit-charges-qmjhl-rewrote-player-contracts-to-avoid-paying-minimum-wage-1.121441

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    Curt 2 years

    Regarding Cox, not surprising that he’s a Rogers company man. I’m assuming he’s burnt many bridges over his career (certainly at TSN). Sportsnet may be all that’s left for him – well maybe also the Oakville Beaver.

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    (Another) Andrew 2 years

    Regarding Cox, not surprising that he’s a Rogers company man. I’m assuming he’s burnt many bridges over his career (certainly at TSN). Sportsnet may be all that’s left for him

    Yes, he should be grateful to Rogers. Who else would allow him to work as a tennis expert?

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    Sam in Scarb 2 years

    @ Antonio & Curt Agree about cox.There are many sportsnet writers waving pom-poms and praising everything rogers does is pure gold.

    I believe already they have realized the 5+ Billion rogers coughed up is not working out and there will be huge cuts come next summer.

    blair,cox,grange and many hockey writers will go when rogers trims the herd.
    The Oakville Beaver and Mississauga Times might then be their only options.

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    Sam 2 years

    Cox is now back with the Star, at least partially… going to be writing a Saturday column.

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    FIFA 2 years

    Im very pleased with your work.