Too Good, You Can’t Play

When does being too good preclude your team from playing in a tournament, well this is true for the 2014 Ken Closs Christmas Jamboree hosted by the Soo Pee Wee.
The North Channel Lightning Pee Wee team has been playing against other teams from the Sault namely Remax, Century 21 and Red Star in the Pee Wee Minor league at the Pee Wee arena. 
The Lightning is not one of the teams in the Sault as the team is from Desbarats and is part of the Canadian Amateur Hockey League (CAHL) and also competes against other teams from the North Shore which include Thessalon, Blind River Elliot Lake and Massey. 
The parents of the Lightning Pee Wee team contributed extra dollars to play in the Sault as the boys and girls wanted to play more games than what was available to be played against the other teams on the North Shore.
Rod Aubertin:
Rod Aubertin: has learned that the Lightning are not able to play in the Christmas Jamboree this year as the Lightning have not lost a game so far this season to any of the Sault teams and they’re too good. 
So let’s draw a parallel here for a moment.  In the High School Hockey League, and we’ll use another hockey league for this analogy, the St. Mary’s Knights have almost a perfect record as the Knights suffered their one and only loss to the CASS Huskies.  So if the Knights go the rest of the season without losing another game I guess that St. Mary’s wouldn’t be able to be in the playoffs because they’re too good.  We beg to differ on this point as don’t we tell our children to do their best and if they win, that’s good, but if they lose, well they gave it their best. 
What principles are we now setting for our young athletes, do your best but don’t be too good because you might not be able to play in any tournaments.
Rod Aubertin:
Rod Aubertin:
I sent Greg Barker who is the SPWHL Administrator an email asking why the North Channel Lightning were not able to play in the Christmas Jamboree and here is the reply I got:
“The Ken Closs is a fun tournament which is usually only for local teams.  Last year they were invited in as a courtesy, as the division they were playing in was very close and competitive.  This year, they are blowing out our local teams (manager admitted to me that the coaches were even asking their players not to play hard against them), and the coaches from that division have asked us to only allow local teams in the tournament as per usual in order to give their kids a chance to win.”
Rod Aubertin:
Rod Aubertin:
So the way we figure it, last year was good because the other teams were competitive against the North Channel Lightning, but this year the team is way too good and the other coaches are complaining that their teams don’t have a chance.
The Lightning manager wanted to still compete in the Christmas Jamboree and figured that the Pee Wee Major division would be more competitive.  Greg Barker’s reply to this was:
“They asked to play in PW Major after schedule was made and posted.  It is the holidays and people have already made plans around the posted schedule, we were not going to completely change things up and affect plans that people have already made.”
Rod Aubertin:
Rod Aubertin:
We’re not sure of the timeline of the events of when the Lightning were made aware that their team was not part of the Christmas Jamboree, and as was only made aware of this item this week and we’re thinking that the Pee Wee League waited until the last minute to inform the North Channel Lightning manager of their decision.
We’re not saying that the Lightning has a stacked team with all super stars, the team has a good mixture of players with various number of years playing hockey, but when the boys and girls are on the ice each one of them strive to give each shift their best and with more ice time the improvements will soon follow.
Rod Aubertin:
Rod Aubertin:
In summary, be good, but you can’t be too good.  Oh, who are we kidding, do your best and keep striving to do better.



  1. They were asked to play in the peewee league Mich, they didn’t pick the division, the peewee put them there!! And fyi the lightning won’t give up that easy so we will see these teams after the new year!!

    • Wow too bad the northern lightning as people so old that they already grew a full beard. Also it’s practically a rep team playing against home teams

  2. The North Channel kids are or some of them are a year older. They should be at least playing pee wee minor A. They will not get any better if they keep playing the minor division. To improve is to have a competition. So stop complaining and just be happy the pee wee league is letting you play. Maybe if you are not happy with the decision maybe you should go play somewhere else. Hopefully from what happened maybe the North Channel teams won’t show up for their games the rest of the year.

  3. OK, so just a few things…
    I’m a parent of a child who plays on a team opposite North Channel and I’m pretty shocked that some comments reference the coaching of the ‘losing’ teams. Really? I know for one I was never asked if North Channel should be eligible by the PeeWee and that seemed to be the main focus of the article. I’m glad that certain comments are targeted at individuals who take time to coach children. Very nice. If you’re mad at the SPWHL, keep the comments focused on that. Remember they are kids, and this isn’t the NHL.

  4. I can tell you first hand that every decision made by the SPWHL is about money. Leadership has no interested in what the parents, or more importantly, what the kids do or think. Regardless if North Channel was killing team or losing has no bearing. The issue is money. It would cost a minimum of $360 extra in ice rentals for North Channel to play. Due to the fact the SPWHL Leadership has squandered crazy amounts of money, they are now scrambling to cut cost. A prime example would be cutting out the bronze medals in the Steel Blades. How much did that save? BTW – Mr. Barker is just the voice, not the decision maker. Greg is a hard worker, who has done nothing but good for the SPWHL.

  5. Mike from what I been told the shoe is on the other foot in the northshore league that they lose all the time that why the parents are so hard driving about this.

    • Sorry Guest 2, contrary to what you have been told, the North Channel Lightning is having a very competitive season in the CAHL. The Thessalon team in the PeeWee division is extremely strong; however we have had wins. losses and ties with all of our other competitors. The division to which we are assigned in SPWHL is the issue – we need to moved to another division in order for the games to be fun and competitive for all teams involved.

  6. My youngest has to play the North Channel team all year long, he’s on Red Star… They should be playing in the A division. The kids were never told not to try, no idea where that came from? What is true is that the kids don’t even want to go to the rink! There is no competition at all, being down 3-0 after 2 minutes of a 45 minute game totally takes the “fun” out of hockey! I know if the shoe was on the other foot, as a parent knowing I have to drive an hour each way every week for a 10-1, 8-2, 7-0 win, would get old very quick! If the SPWHL allowed them in the house league division, you can give out the medals before the first puck drops! I can tell you right now, they would win EVERY game handily… It’s like 3 C teams playing an A team, they’re in the wrong division… Clearly!

    • I understand Mike that driving the hour each way for every week and I’m not sure why they got assigned to the A Division. I think that would have been up to the SPHWL to assign them to a division not the North Channel Lightning.

      • The only reason we are in the division we are in (lightning) is due to the fact this league is short one team and the spwhl wanted our money to fill the void.

  7. This is just the most recent example of politics playing a part in minor hockey in Algoma! This is not new, it has been going on for as long as hockey has been played, at least as long as I have been around. It has not always been Sault Ste Marie who is guilty, but due to population they seem to always hold the trump card.
    I hope that, some day, the people in positions of hockey power in Sault Ste Marie and the Associations to the east, along with the NOHA can all get there heads together and promote hockey for all of the arenas and communities (oh ya, and the kids). Fostering hockey across the District will pay dividends for all the Associations. Hockey executives, coaches and parents egos always stand in the way of a plan that would put everyone on equal ground.
    The Ciry of Sault Ste Marie better hope that the Grey Hounds don’t ever have another 33 – 0 season! Just sayin’!

  8. yes the Lightning team was invited last year because they weren’t as good, but because the Lightning team is to good now we arnt invited this year because they want their kids to have a chance! That there says sore loser all over it!! It’s not about winning its about having fun!! Those coaches of the other teams arnt showing a great example to the kids, because they can’t beat the Lightning team let’s just not invite them so we can possibly win!! Pathetic and bad team sportsmanship!!

    • Let’s also add that North Channel ALSO paid fee’s to play in this league as well!! And to be taken out of the Jamboree and play off’s, REALLY!!?? To deny North Channel moving up to another level is crap also. Hockey Canada should be notified of all of this!!
      Take the politics out of it all and let the kids play HOCKEY!!!

  9. The Christmas jamboree has always been for just local teams in THE PEE WEE HOCKEY LEAGUE! We do not pay to participate and out of town teams are not usually invited. Last year this team was invited, as a courtesy, not necessity! To say shame on the pee wee for not allowing out of town teams in is silly. As a parent in the pee wee I pay good money to play, and this tournament is included. This out of town team is not part of the pee wee league, they play exhibition games against us. If you want to be part, then join! But don’t complain when you aren’t allowed in. And the analogy of St Mary’s? They are in the same league as the other teams, therefore it is like comparing apples to oranges. I stand by the pee wee in this circumstance.

  10. Wow, probably the WORST reporting I’ve read in a long (and Dave H is back at Sootoday) time.
    This quote is ridiculous!!

    “ was only made aware of this item this week and we’re thinking that the Pee Wee League waited until the last minute to inform the North Channel Lightning manager of their decision.”

  11. At least rods qualifications are at the end of the article 🙂 His experience with photography and computer programming must mean his words are gospel…. do some fact checking there people before you bash the group of VOLUNTEERS running the league…. maybe this team should find a tournament that they would be competitive in??? who likes blowing out teams anyway… no one wins…..

  12. So basically what Greg Barker, who is the SPWHL Administrator is saying is, “You are welcome to come as long as you lose, but you are not welcome to come in case you might win.”

  13. Shame on the SPWHL for telling kids that striving to do your best will get you nothing, you will end up not being invited to play and do what you have worked so hard to do. May I suggest that the administration looks onto a certificate called respect in sports …. Take it ….. Learn it…. Practice it

  14. Hmmm… Maybe instead of complaining that their teams aren’t as good, maybe the local coaches can maybe try and make their teams better so they can compete against them… When I get beat in racing… I don’t go cry that the winner is too good and think he shouldn’t be allowed to compete… I go home and try and get better. The league and coaches are sending the entirely wrong msg… It’s ok to not be good kids, we’ll just make sure the good team can’t play, then we’re the best… Some people need to visit a proctologist to see about removing their heads. They should play against them, so their best, and if they come up short, motivate them to push harder to get to the same level… They should be used as a measuring stick of competition. Get it right people, they have as much right to play as anyone else, stop making lame excuses as to why they can’t compete.

  15. I was shocked to read this article. You allow these kids to play last year but not this year, because they are too good. The North Channel Lightning team should remain proud and strive to always to do your best, even though, SPWHL is being a Scrooge and unfair to you.

    • I can’t believe this . Once again the Sault hockey community proves to the public that it’s not about the game , the Kids and sportsmanship . It’s about parents ego’s.

  16. This is very sad, but…….I remember the days, when our North Channel teams were told we weren’t “good enough” to play. Congratulations to the players and coaching staff from North Channel – the very best place to learn how to play Canada’s greatest game!

  17. One again disgusted and disappointed with another decision of the SPWHL. This leagues leadership has gone so down hill.
    My kids play in high school hockey and although St Marys is over and above the rest, it only gives the other schools more determination to get a win against them. It’s a motivator if anything. I never heard anyone say they wished St Marys wasn’t in the league. It’s part of hockey. We have all experienced our kids in tournaments and seasons where there was a team that walked away with the whole thing. I agree with the post above… The league and parents should be ashamed of themselves!

    • Learn all the facts behind the decision … jamboree as stated is and has always been a local in house tournament for the league and exceptions have been made to include other association teams… The steel blades showed that thehouse league teams could not at all compete with these outaide teams. There are reasons of in house decisions made in the drafys that imo a direct result to this effect but it is what it is. The teams within the spwhl are competetive within themselves but thats it… north channel should be in the minor A or hl major division above but who should be ashamed is the people calling out the coaches and parwnts of the spwhl teams only wanting their players and children fair competive challenges and fun …

  18. This happens all the time when smaller centres play larger ones. Problem is that small centres do not have enough kids say at “A” level to ice an “A” level team so a house league team my have a few kids that don’t really belong there but are stuck because that is all the area has. I suggest maybe looking for a tournement sat AE, A, AA, AAA whichever would give your team them best competition. You can’t blame tournemt organizers for wanting to keep their tournemt competitive and fun for all! Quite frankly it must be boring always blowing out teams and I’d be seeking higher competition at other tournaments.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. A higher level such as Pee Wee major would have been aprciated and our team was open to the idea. The problem here is the way the Pee Wee handled this situation and made the schedule and kept the North Channel out of the loop until the bitter end and the was no time to edit our team into another division. Just seems like poor sportsmanship is all. We would and still will be more than open to playing higher ranked teams.

  19. Cannot believe what i am reading..Our kids have played against this team many times …this team and the coaching staff have worked very hard and it shows…all i can say is North Channel Ligtning Peewee you should all be very proud of how far you have come and to the organizers of the tournament hosted by the Soo Pee Wee….be ashamed,be very ashamed

  20. North Shore Lightening you make us proud.To the coaches who have taught so well. To the players who have taken their game seriously learned their lessons,worked hard,stayed focused and determined to improve.You are all winners in every way.

  21. To be brutally honest, they are better than any of the Sault teams of their league. I have a feeling like they were only allowed to play last year because wins for this team were few and far between. They were a push over and the other teams didn’t think they would win last year. Now that the team is leaps and bounds what they were last year, and not to mention have never lost, suddenly they can’t be included.

    Not to mention that the teams were told not to try against North Shore. Have they ever considered that if the teams try harder, they might win?!?! This is sad…

Comments are closed.