Royals on the rocks

Carole Morris-Underhill
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Jr. B team likely taking a one-year leave of absence

It looks like the Windsor Royals Jr. B hockey team will be hanging up their skates for at least a year.

Dan Boyd, the interim president of the Windsor Royals executive, confirmed in an interview June 12 that they have requested a one-year hiatus for the team.

“We’ve hit a few rough patches and we are requesting a year’s leave of absence from the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League,” Boyd said.

“There are a variety of reasons,” he said, adding, “(There’s) just too much turmoil and conflict. It continued past the end of the season. We’ve had meetings where we’ve not been able to get quorums and we’ve not been able to do business.”

Issues within the Windsor Royals first first came to light publicly in February of this year when members of the executive fired, then rehired, the head coach and assistant coaches during the team's playoff series with East Hants.

Since that time, rumours have been circulating throughout the community that there were plans to not ice a team this year.

Boyd contacted Hockey Nova Scotia June 11 to make the request official. But it’s a decision that not everyone is happy about.

Dale Evans, the vice-president of the executive, wants the Junior B team to play this coming season. He is one of four members on the Royals’ executive that are opposed to the current plans.

“Hockey Nova Scotia was advised that they're making application to take a leave of absence. None of this stuff was voted on,” Evans said in an interview June 12.

“They're claiming… unrest on the executive board is the reason that we're taking a leave of absence. But, Alcohol and Gaming was notified a couple of months ago that this was their intention — again, without the vote of the executive board, which they have no right to do,” Evans said.

The Alcohol and Gaming Division of Nova Scotia provides the Royals with a license for their television bingo, which is their main method of raising funds.

Evans said prior to deciding to put the team on hiatus, the majority of the executive were toying with the idea of cutting back the team's funding.

“They are planning to take a leave of absence, or, worst-case scenario, they were going to cut our funds to ice time and registration only and we had to raise the other $60,000 even though we have revenues of $110,000 in the bingo,” said Evans.

He believes this decision has been in the works for a while.

When it comes to holding meetings, the executive must have a quorum, which is eight people. Currently, there are seven members in favour of the plans, and four opposed for a total of 11 members. Meetings cannot be held if at least eight executive members are not in attendance. Boyd said they’ve tried to hold several meetings in the past couple of months, but had to cancel them because they did not have a quorum.

“People see me as an ogre, as somebody that is out to cut the feet out from under the Royals. I hear the talk. That’s so far from the truth it’s not even funny,” said Boyd.

“We, as an executive... have an executive board of directors of 15. There are four vacancies. Seven supported (the hiatus), four are against it,” he continued. “You go anywhere in life: the majority rules.”

There were four seats on the board of directors vacant. But, Boyd said two people were welcomed as members at a meeting a few weeks ago and will become official directors on June 21 at an executive meeting. That will give them the quorum they need to hold meetings and make decisions.

The new members will be Garnet 'Gun' Smith, the former president of the Royals who stepped down last fall, and Jeff Veinot, a relative of Grant Veinot a current member of the executive.

Evans said the four opposing members boycotted some of the executive meetings because they knew what the majority of the executive hoped to accomplish.

“One of them was an emergency meeting and it was called two days after a discussion had been had and we boycotted the meeting because we know what their intentions are. Their intentions are to not have a hockey team next year.”

Evans said the fate of the Royals shouldn’t be left up to a handful of executive members. The community should have a say in whether they will support the team.

“If the community doesn't want a hockey team, then we don’t have a hockey team. But, I want the community to know what's going on and I want them to have a voice,” said Evans.

A public meeting has been scheduled for June 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre for that purpose.

“The meeting on June 19 is to rally the community and let them have a voice. And, if they decide they don't want a hockey team next year, then so be it. They've spoken. It's a democratic process and we've abided by the bylaws,” said Evans.

Although not originally from the community, Evans said he became involved with the executive because he's a fan of the sport.

“I don't play hockey; I watch it. I don't play it; I don't have any kids playing it. I don't have an agenda; I don't have an invested interest in this. I just like watching hockey. I volunteered to be part of the executive board just so I could help out,” said Evans.

He feels any major decisions involving the club should be made out in the open.

“Windsor is the birthplace of hockey. There's a lot of people in the community that have played with the Windsor Royals, that have coached the Windsor Royals, that are parents of players... that want to see the tradition continue. They need a decision in this. They need a comment on this.”

But Boyd said the June 19 meeting came as news to him and said it was not associated with the Windsor Royals executive.


Money well spent

Boyd said the majority of the executive feel the money raised through bingo could be better spent.

“The Royals have a proud 47 year tradition in the town but at the same time, the majority of the executive — not the full executive but the majority — looked at it as instead of buying goalie pads for a kid from Ontario, paying money to release a kid out of Ontario — our leading scorer was from BC last year — we were thinking of ways... the bingo money (could) maybe help local people more,” he said.

Boyd noted they would like to help foster a love of the sport in the region and provide funding to develop local skills.

“We were thinking that maybe if we could take our money and put it into the high school hockey team that’s one example minor hockey, and try to bring our hockey skills back,” said Boyd. “I’m not saying one year can do it but one year can help.”

Boyd pointed out there were only a few local players on the Windsor Royals in the 2011-12 season. Brandon Parker, Mark Swain and Jake Galbraith were the only ones from Hants County. Goaltender Tyler Whynot was originally from the area, but moved away.

“We go back to the days of the mid-60s and early 70s when the Windsor Royals hit the ice and 10, 11, 12, 13 of the 18 guys were all from Windsor West Hants,” he said.

Boyd also said if granted a one-year hiatus, they would look at donating the Royals' ice time to deserving groups, and create a health and education component in which they could help those less fortunate in the community.


What constitutes membership

Interpreting the Windsor Royals Hockey Club 2010 Society bylaws also created an issue to divide the executive.

Evans said the four members opposed to putting the team on hiatus take the bylaws, which are through the Registry of Joint Stocks, literally. Boyd said there are different ways to interpret the bylaws. As such, he sought legal advice.

“We felt bad that we had to go get the legal opinion. We would have rather of dealt with this through a normal meeting process,” said Boyd. “But, I mean, people got their dander up and they started challenging every last little bylaw and how it was to be interpreted and we just said, 'Look, we’re not going to sit here and do this the entire summer. We’re just not.'”

Boyd said they received clear guidance.

“In order to be a member of the society, you have to be welcomed into the society,” said Boyd, noting that some people thought as long as they attended one meeting they could automatically vote.

“It wasn’t explained properly to them,” he said. “The members of the society, if they’re welcomed in, they’re not able to vote. It’s only the board of directors who are able to vote. That’s what our legal opinion says. We now have it in writing.”

Evans, however, interprets the bylaws differently.

“We've attempted to have two public meetings where the society meaning the community gets to come and vote on exactly what happens. Both of these meetings were set up by me, the vice-president, to include the public opinion because I want to know what the community wants,” said Evans, noting both meetings were cancelled.

The Windsor Royals executive did hold a failed annual general meeting May 24. The AGM had to be postponed because the meeting had not been advertised appropriately and far enough in advance.

“If the community doesn't want a hockey team, then we don’t have a hockey team. But, I want the community to know what's going on and I want them to have a voice.” Dale Evans, vice-president of the Windsor Royals executive

When that happened, Evans said he thought that could work in their favour because there was a considerable amount of people in attendance that night the majority wanting the Royals to play this year. According to the bylaws, he says those people should have the right to vote and elect the next executive.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise because one of our bylaws states that the only way a society member can vote is if they've been to a previous meeting,” said Evans. “Well, no body had been to a previous meeting. Now, as of May 24, because the AGM was cancelled, they now have a right to vote.”

In the interview, Boyd maintained that the people who attended the failed AGM were not considered members.

“I want to stress again that so many people think they’re members of the society because they’ve come to one meeting over the last year, year and a half or two years. That’s not the case,” said Boyd. “If they’re interested in serving, we can always meet with them and discuss what the Registry of Joint Stocks told us and like our legal advice told us.”

Section 6 of the bylaw's membership rights and responsibilities states: "Membership in the society shall consist of: a) the minimum of five subscribers to the Memorandum of Association, b) those who support the objects of the society, c) those whose name and address is written in the register of members by the secretary, d) those who pay an annual fee in an amount to be determined by the society, and/or e) those who reside in the geographic area of Windsor-West Hants, and/or Kings, Lunenburg, Annapolis and Digby countys."

Section 4 states: "Every member may vote at any members' meeting of the society after they have attended at least one previous members' meeting."


Former captain speaks out

Erik Jackaman, the 2011-12 team captain, also doesn’t want to see the Royals throw in the towel — even if it's just for a year.

Jackaman, who was reached via email at his job site in the Yukon, said he hoped to return this year as an assistant coach and sit on the board of directors along with another former player. Jackaman said that would make the board “more diversified” and would give “other points of view when issues arise.”

Jackaman, one of the team's leading scorers last year, said any decision that could disband the group is 'ridiculous.'

“The group lead by Mr. Dale Evans and Mr. Randy Graham are 110 per cent committed to transforming the Windsor Royals' culture to create a more positive environment for everyone involved. The biggest part of this is to put the focus back on the players on the ice, and not on the board of directors and management. After all, the product on the ice is what bring the fans to the rink,” Jackaman wrote to the Journal.

But Boyd said the fan numbers are just not there to financially support paying for the ice time.

“Game time and game time expenses cost us about $585-$600. All the years I’ve been president of the Royals, we’ve never had enough gate money to pay the full bill. When I say the full bill, I mean the ice time to that night,” said Boyd.

“But I don’t want to blame the fans. In saying that, the rink is not exactly one of the more up-to-date, universal spots in the province. Maybe someday somebody will get around to fixing it up, putting a little heat in it,” he continued.

Boyd said the Royals was one of the few teams that were taking buses to out-of-town games, which was an added expense. He said the majority of the executive took a hard look at where the money was going. Since these players were “basically winding up their junior career,” Boyd said the executive felt the money could be better spent elsewhere.


Next steps

It's anticipated that on July 7 the executive will learn whether they will be granted the leave of absence.

“If the league says no, we are not granting you a leave of absence, we’re going to disband your franchise I can’t speak to what would happen then,” said Boyd.

“We’re going to have representatives there but we’re going to put forward a very strong case.”

Stay tuned to the Hants Journal as this story unfolds.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, Alcohol and Gaming Division of Nova Scotia, Windsor Royals Hockey Club Hants Journal

Geographic location: Ontario, Hants County, Annapolis Yukon

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Recent comments

  • Jacob Mckendry
    June 19, 2012 - 17:48

    This is a disgrace to the community, the Royals fans, and the team itself. I try to read this article but I have yet to finish it as I get so angry and frustrated with the blatant lies and disrespectful comments. The need for complete control over this situation and the greediness about it is remarkable. I have been grown up to respect my elders and their remarks, but I lost my respect long ago while certain individuals tried to sabotage our season by firing our coaches. You have 20 players on this team, none of which are behind Dan Boyd, Grant Veinot or David Keith. Step down and let real business men/women run an organization. This is the birthplace of hockey. It should be an icon, a tourist attraction to all and yet it is going to be represented by the turmoils of the executive. I have played on this team for two years now, and the lack of order and professionalism has obviously hit its all time low. I question where all of the money the past two years has gone towards. Players rarely got compensated for gas or sticks. Orange electric tape was supplied for a red, white and blue hockey squad. Scraps for tape, usually the colour brown. It was not until Bob and Josh Dill and Rob Lindsay come to the organization and put their hard earned money into this team a number of times. Funny thing is, we didn't care so much about the treatment we were receiving prior to this. Sure, it was embarrassing and we knew that it was a disgrace to us as players and the organization but we still played, and played well at that. You should have seen the boys faces when Josh showed up with matching socks, it was like we were all getting new cars for christmas. I came to Nova Scotia for one reason, to earn my post secondary education at Acadia University. Nathan Little, my roommate first year and friend from home in Barrie, Ontario, convinced me to play for this team and I loved playing since. It would be a shame missing out on the 2012- 2013 season because certain individuals cannot seem to put their egotistical thoughts behind them. The boys want to play, the community wants us to play, and theres executives out there that are ready and willing to make this happen. Step down! Jacob Mckendry 2012 - First Team All-star, Top Goaltender and Royals MVP

  • Ryan Foley
    June 18, 2012 - 16:17

    The Royals have been a part of Hants County Community for years. As a alumni this information is upsetting as a hockey player and fan. With so many great memories stemming from this organization including 2001 Don Johnson win on Home ice, the exit of the royals would be a loss not only to our community but to so many young minor hockey players. When I was moving through the ranks of minor hockey I loved attending the games and watching the royals play. Looking up to the boys and wishing one day I would be a part of the royals legacy. There is so much to lose here for the community. If money is the issue, lets get some outside advice to find out how we can financially restructure this organization so it makes sense to continue the team. If the executive needs advise on or where to obtain this information or just an another perspective I am available for contact anytime. 902-818-1401 or, @ryansfoley. Regards, Ryan Foley Royal Alumni 99,2003- 2001 Don Johnson Cup Winner.

  • Joe
    June 18, 2012 - 09:45

    Everything about this is sad. The birthplace of hockey can't keep a Junior B team on the ice. The comments above are bang on, not only is this a hockey issue, but a Windsor issue. The Local MLA Chuck Porter has been elected, and ever since the town has gone down the drain, and he stands by and does nothing. The new Mayor has been the same thing, useless. It is incumbent on Windsor that we have elected officials who will stand up for us. They have both been silent, when they should be the loudest cheer leaders. ( please note Dan Boyd is the same Dan Boyd who works for the PC's and Chuck Porter, and the Mayor is a long time PC and chuck porter camapign worker ) . It's clear these people are not looking out for Hockey in Windsor, and need to go. I am certain people in the town will rally together and see this fixed, and I will do anything I can to help.

  • Hockey parent
    June 16, 2012 - 11:00

    There are so many ridiculous statements in this article I am not even going to try to address them.but I do have three comments: If the executive is tired then step aside and allow someone who is interested in keeping the team afloat to step in and run the Windsor Royals. If all Junior teams in NS had the mindset that the majority of players to hail from that community there would be not one Junior team left in the province either AB or C. Give our talented young players whether they are born here or choose to reside here a place to play and something worthwhile to fill their free time, and allow the rest of us to enjoy watching. This executive is trying to destroy the reputation that the Windsor Royals Franchise has taken years to build within the province and it's a shame.

  • Matt Boudreau
    June 15, 2012 - 19:11

    As an alumni from 1999-2003 and also a local(ish) player (Kentville) who is still close enough to the area, I am extremely dissapointed and shocked at this. The executive and the staff were the backbone of the club when I was there. To read now that this and a slight dip in attendance is causing the club to be on the verge of folding was very difficult to grasp. If someone involved with the situation is reading these comments and would appreciate some help in dealing with this situation I would more than happy to give up some of my time to try and make a difference. Feel free to contact me on facebook or on twitter (@Tboog06) or reply to this message with a means of contacting to lend a hand. Regards, Matt Boudreau Royals 99-03, 2001 Don Johnson Cup Champ at the Ex.

  • Nathan Little
    June 14, 2012 - 19:28

    Dear Hants journal, My name is Nathan Little and I was a member of the Windsor Royals team last year. This article that I just completed reading is one that sickens me. Not from a journalistic and writing point but the story itself. It is quite apparent to me and many others that there is an extremely selfish group of individuals trying to sabotage a junior hockey teams season. I would like to discuss some of the points brought forward by Dan Boyd in this article. One major reason he stated as to why the upcoming Windsor Royals team season should be cancelled is that there is too much turmoil that has existed for quite some time now. While I cannot deny this statement, I cannot help but wonder what the circumstances would be like if most of the current executive were not present. From a personal stand point I can say that the battle at this point is between a group of individuals on the executive (the 7 who voted for a hiatus) and the players, coaches and existing executive members. It seems as though Dan Boyd and others are acting in a way that is for the best interest of the team and the community which leads me to this question. How is the team being helped if it does not exist? How are they rewarding a hockey community by taking away their local junior team? The simple answer is they are not acting in a positive way aimed towards the best interest of the team. Dan Boyd had also mentioned how there was not enough local talent on the team saying that money would be better spent on other things besides equipment for players from out of province. In my eyes this is very insulting. It should not matter where the player is from. If they are part of the Windsor Royals, they will be treated the same as everyone else. No one single person is above the rest. When Dan Boyd stated that there was not enough local talent on the team, it came as a second insult to me. Before I began my first season with the Royals, I was recruited by the former general manager. I made one phone call and after that, they were very excited to have me. When Dan Boyd goes on record and explains that he would rather local players than out of province players, it makes you wonder about how much they truly appreciate the amount of work and effort you have given to the executive members and the team over the years. One last issue I would like to bring into question is the idea of donating the unused ice to the underprivileged. I agree that donating the ice for a cause such as that would be a noble and caring gesture. But in that same idea, how will the ice be payed for? Will the Windsor Royals use the existing money to pay for the ice time? If that occurs, how will there be enough money for a team in the years to come? Dan Boyd had mentioned that we do not have enough money to purchase ice time. If the ice time were to be donated and some sort of youth hockey program were to be formulated, where would the funding come from? In closing, I would just like to reiterate my opinion and my displeasure for what is being attempted. Not only will many dedicated players, coaches and staff suffer from a hiatus, but the community in which hockey originated will also suffer without a junior team in existence. To whomever reads this comment, I truly do appreciate your time. I am writing in hopes that the Hants Journal would some how be able to make this story a larger and more public issue, expanding beyond the Hants county area. At this point, those who want a season to happen next year are desperate for any help possible. The ultimate goal is to have a season next year and stop the selfish individuals who want to put a hiatus into effect. Thank you once again, Regards, Nathan little Windsor Royals Defenseman 2-time Fred Fox Division First Team All-star

  • hockey fan
    June 14, 2012 - 11:55

    The lack of local talent on the Royals during the last few seasons completely fails to take into account the fact that there are many local West Hants/Valley kids suiting up for other teams in the league. Look at the kids going to school or working in the city and playing for the Bay or Sackville, or the kids at X who are suiting up for Pictou Co. or in the past the Strait. Lets face it, more local players aren't sticking around Windsor after High School because they're leaving town for school or for work, it's not that we're not producing decent players (look at the number of local kids who have been drafted in the Q or MJHL for evidence). On top of that with such chaos in the executive of this club, who would want to play here when they could just as easy play for Bay, Sackville, East Hants, or Brookfield. The Royals are on a slippery slope, if anyone remembers the Chester Ravens Jr. B, if my memory serves correct, their departure from the league began with a year leave of absence and it took at least a decade to bring Jr hockey back to the South Shore with the Jr. C club there now.

    • Save the Windsor Royals
      June 14, 2012 - 22:35

      If there is support to keep the team within the community, keep the team going. Who cares that players are not "from here* -- a lot of people who live here now support our local organizations and live here are not *from here* either and frankly this narrow-minded thinking must stop if our rural communities are to survive. It's still a local team and locals enjoy watching the team. This seems to be about one person wanting all the control - if he can't manage it, then no one can. That's wrong. If there are people who want to fold the team, then they should walk away and let others manage it. Where is the Mayor on this issue? Chuck Porter? What happened to birthplace of hockey, rah rah rah! Why does it seem people in power represent their friends and no one else?