NHL coach suspension sparks reaction

Published On January 21, 2014 | By Jeffrey Sehl | Sports
by Corey Weir

The pressures of being a coach can get to be too much sometimes, it seems.

An example of this was displayed last Saturday in Vancouver when Canucks head coach John Tortorella attempted to enter the Calgary Flames locker room in a fury after the first period in a 3-2 win in a shootout.

The National Hockey League, on Monday, handed down a 15 day suspension, without pay, to the controversial coach. He will miss six games.

The heated incident has been the subject of much conversation in the hockey world. Some people are angry with Tortorella’s actions and others have defended his behaviour.

Marty Williamson, general manager and head coach of the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League, defended Tortorella actions.

“As far as being a coach, I feel (Tortorella) did the right thing,” Williamson said. “It’s family in that room and none of us want to see anyone get hurt.”

Williamson had a similar altercation while defending his players.

“I took a five game suspension a couple years back, one of my players was sucker punched and I lost it, they gave me a five game suspension but I wasn’t going to let them get away with it,” he said. “My players knew I wasn’t going to accept that and they knew that I had their back.

Williamson said he believes a team needs to have strength both on the ice and off.

“You have to be a teamma2058381299_adc84d76f4_zte, it’s easy to hawk eye a kid everyday but you’ll lose that kid,” said Williamson. “You have to preach team and family a lot, you spend every day with these guys, in a way they become you’re family.”

Jim Bialek, president of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association and manager of Humber Athletics said Tortorella crossed the line.

Coaches in the NHL “are held to a different level,” said Bialek. “What [Tortorella] did was totally wrong on every level, all his antics of trash talking and such, that you can fine him for, but once he engages physically, it has to be different.”

Bialek said that if Humber needed to take action upon one of their coaches, he feels they’d handle that situation very well.

“As a school we have the ability to fine, suspend, and put an individual on probation if one of our coaches was to ever step out of line.”

Humber’s Code of Expectations clearly states in the section covering coaching, “we will support and encourage all athletes to strive to do their athletic best.”

Under General Behaviour, for both students and coaches, it states, “represent yourself, your team, Humber Athletics and Humber college and the OCAA with pride and integrity.”

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Jeffrey Sehl

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