Monday, January 16, 2012

Safety? Who cares about safety?

There's something I'd like to mention that happened last Thursday night.
I've discussed it on Twitter and Facebook already but I'm able to give more details here.

Our boys' hockey team was registered to play in a hockey tournament in Fredericton Junction this past weekend.
For those who don't have a clue where the heck that is, this is from Google Maps. Fredericton Junction is the B on the bottom. New Maryland (where we live) is the A at the top of the purple path line.

It doesn't look like much really. It's about 35 kilometers (22 miles for my American friends) and takes about 1/2 and hour to drive on a normal day.
A NORMAL day. That would be without a wild blowing snowstorm or freezing rain.

I should add that you can't tell from a Google map but that road is pretty well unlit the whole way and is mainly forest on both sides.

Anyway, back to the topic.
Last Thursday started out pretty well. The daytime weather was nothing out of the ordinary.
However, some nastiness and freezing rain was forecast for the late afternoon to early evening.

I've always loathed this but many tournament organizers don't seem to realize or care that people have jobs and kids have to go to school. They begin weekend hockey tournaments on the Thursday night in order to squeeze more games in.

Our sons were actually going to miss the team's first game that night.
It may seem crazy but there was a good reason. Really.
They were going to the school dance which was supposed to have taken place just before Christmas but was postponed due to the weather (sigh) and rescheduled for this night.
Both boys had been looking forward to that dance so much. Both of their girlfriends were going with them and it was going to be a really nice evening.

Guess what? The school heard the weather forecast and postponed/cancelled the dance again. I guess it will be a Christmas/Valentine dance.
They cancelled all after school activities for that day.

Ah well, that meant that they could now play in Thursday night's hockey game.
Before that I had to take T to his piano lesson and then pick up his young lady friend to go to the game with us.
Cheryl was taking B to pick up his young lady friend and we were going to meet at home and head to the game from there.

Somewhere around 5:00 or so Mother Nature decided it was time to give it to us.
It started out looking like a misty rain except that it froze into a sheet of ice on my car windshield.

As I was waiting for T at his piano lesson I had a call from Cheryl that the hockey game that night was cancelled due to the weather. That made a lot of sense to me.
Especially as I drove along in a line of cars trying to slide and skid our way up the Hanwell Road hill in Fredericton.

The weather wasn't nice at all. Truth be told, I was a little anxious at the thought of travelling that icy dark road to get to the game.

Here's where it gets weird.

What I didn't realize was that the decision to cancel the game was made by our team's coaches and Cheryl who is the manager. Not by the tournament organizers.
Our folks made the right choice.

However, when they called the tournament organizers they were told that by cancelling we would forfeit the game and it would go on the board as a 3-0 loss for us.
There was nothing in the tournament rules saying this but they made it up right then.

I also found out that the president of the Tri-County league who was running the tournament commented that the roads weren't bad.
It's possible that what he saw out his window was different from what we saw but I don't think it could be that far off.
I'm sorry pal. The roads WERE bad.

He made a snarky comment that the Grand Lake team had made it there so we should be able to as well.
What he didn't account for was that the Grand Lake team played over an hour before us and did their travelling before the storm hit.

Of course our first game was against the home team who could probably walk over to the arena. There's no reason for them to need to cancel the game. They didn't have to drive in what we did.

Something completely floors me about this guy's mentality.

Exactly 4 years to the day on Thursday, a horrific accident took the lives of seven young basketball players and a teacher and injured four others who were in the vehicle near Bathurst, New Brunswick.
They were returning home from a basketball game in Moncton in a 15 passenger van. There was a light freezing rain and poor visibility.
The coach who was driving lost control of the van and veered into the path of a large truck.

This struck the hearts of everyone and saddens and haunts New Brunswick.

Many lessons were learned and new rules and regulations came about as a result of this terrible tragedy.

The one biggest thing which I take from it is that no matter what, no matter what type of event or game is on the line, it doesn't matter who is supposed to be somewhere doing something, OUR KID'S SAFETY HAS to be the priority.

It's a shame that there are still people out there who haven't learned this yet but their education isn't going to come at the expense of anyone else if I can help it.

There was no sense arguing about it.
We accepted our loss and played the other two games on Saturday.
We didn't win but the guys played solid hockey and enjoyed themselves.

B had a goal in the second game and won player of the game. T shut down several plays that were heading towards our end with his defensive skills.

We were proud of them all and everyone got home safe and sound.

Stay well,


Lynn said...

There's too much at stake when it comes to our kids. You are 100% correct Tim.

Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Thank you ma'am. :)

Steve Boyko said...

That just burns me. Like most New Brunswickers I remember the Bathurst accident very well. I drove through the site many times afterward.

They should always err on the side of safety. But there are always people who will drive in any weather, no matter what. :P

You did the right thing. I hope your boys understood.

Tim Scammell, PTech said...

They do Steve. Absolutely. They weren't happy about the loss but accepted it. It appears that they're smarter than many adults. :-/