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Western Kings still in limbo; HNL president Jack Lee says his organization won't act on anonymous complaints

['Western Kings']
['Western Kings']

Details remain scarce about the Western Kings and their status a couple of months after removing pieces of their coaching staff.

The Western Star has learned an anonymous letter sent by a parent detailing concerns about an alleged hazing incident on the Kings’ bus during a road trip earlier this season was sent to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

Kings co-owner Craig Simms said he wasn’t the person who sent the letter but acknowledged that it was his belief the letter was sent by one of the parents of a player on the team.

Simms said he wasn’t on the bus when the incident in question was supposed to have happened so he couldn’t shed any light on what may or may not have unfolded.

Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador president Jack Lee said his organization would never entertain a letter of complaint that wasn’t signed by the person who is bringing the concern forward.

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Lee says he would certainly read the contents of a letter of complaint and ask questions of the team or groups involved, but never would act on it in an official manner.

 “How can we act on something that we don’t know if it’s true or false?” he said.

Hazing or any activity related to inappropriate behaviour is something that HNL takes seriously and Lee insists his organization would act swiftly if the complaint has merit.

The future of the Kings franchise is in limbo right now as Simms and co-owner Jason Oake of Deer Lake try to work through some issues with hopes of getting everything resolved in time for another season.

Last month the Kings had to cancel its scheduled identification camp. Simms is hoping to find available ice time in July to hold the camp.

He said every decision he has made since becoming co-owner has always been in the best interest of the players and he plans on staying the course.

Simms discussed the Kings future with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador president Jack Lee Tuesday morning and believes the situation will be resolved soon.

“I have the kids’ interests at heart and I will be fighting for the players,” Simms said. “I will be making sure that they have a safe environment no matter what, even if it means that I got to go to the utmost ends in order to secure that even it if means we got to lose the franchise.”

Nobody within the organization has been willing to talk about the supposed incident on the bus that was referenced in the letter, but Simms is quick to point out sending a letter wasn’t something he even considered doing.

“I would have dealt with it,” he said. “I wasn’t made aware of this until months later.”

Lee is hopeful the Kings coaching situation will work itself out over the next few days with the owners finding some common ground.

He said HNL doesn’t get involved in internal matters with provincial major midget hockey franchises. He said it’s no secret that the two owners have a difference of opinion on who they want to coach the team, but it’s their right to hire and fire who they want so he’s just going to let them find a solution through working together.

In early May it was made public coaches Mark Robinson and Andre Cornick would no longer be coaching the team.

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