The North American Hockey League has a responsibility to the standards set by USA Hockey's Junior Council for the Tier II level of play and should be a accountable to maintain those standards. Accountable to whom?
The NAHL is an independent private company governed by each team owner within the league. What does that mean? Each owner has an equal position as a member of the Board of Governors, where each team has one vote at the table and the majority rules.
Mark Frankenfeld, the current commissioner, and league attorney Bob Riley, do not vote and are present only for guidance and legal counsel.
The NAHL, and the teams within the league are private businesses, so they are not required to disclose any information to the public or media. The problem arises, for you the consumer, is when something is not right and it affects people outside the ownership group.
That's why we have government agencies to oversee private companies to protect the consumer from flawed or potentially harmful products to recall them if need be. How does this apply to the NAHL? Should they have some over site in place which is non-bias to make sure the all aspects of the business are operated correctly? As the national governing body of the game, this duty should fall into the hands of USA Hockey. USA Hockey turns around and passes the buck back to the league and generally the issue simply fades away.
There is also the GREED factor! Each year since 2008, Mark Frankenfeld has been going out and growing the league, by bringing new teams into the NAHL. This is good for the other teams in the league, Frankenfeld, and the players.
Each team entering the league has a franchise fee, and for the sake of argument, let's assume that amount to be $300,000 per team. The money from the new team is dispersed evenly to the all the existing teams, Frankenfeld's bonus, and money left in the league account for expenditures. For the hockey players a new team means twenty-five more spots that need to be filled.
Junior Hockey is a business, but at what cost do we let an individual or team soil the reputation of the entire league. Since 2008 the NAHL has allowed Mark Frankenfeld to bring in new teams that have damaged the overall reputation of the league, not to mention the continued saga of significant scandals.
The BOG has continued to overlook obvious violations of Tier II standards. Instead of taking a proactive role to maintain the standards as issues arise, the league simply tries to cover them up.
It is amazing that the BOG would agree to a $25,000 fine for talking to us. JuniorHockey.com is a news source and sometimes that news is good and sometimes it is bad. Our job is to deliver it regardless of the implications. One NAHL owner claims that he is tired of discovering league issues on JuniorHockey.com before Frankenfeld bothers to tell the owners.
The league needs to step in and take over the Chicago Hitmen.
The players having to pay for blades (or sticks) and warm- ups reflects upon the entire league. When the situation was brought to our attention, the team decided to call it a deposit. Why is there not a deposit receipt and why were players never told the payment was a refundable deposit?
Why is Hammersmith on the Bench?
Are there any additional owners of the team?
Are there any outstanding loans from player's parents?
Has the team completed all the required background checks for all housing parents, employees, and team volunteers?
Why is the BOG not holding Mark Frankenfeld accountable for the situation in Chicago? He is an employee that is supposed to be protecting the league's brand.
There is a very simple solution to the biggest problem in the league, simply do what's right to begin with.
Most of the NAHL owners are great guys and run top notch organizations. When are you guys going to stand up and do something? Frankenfeld has shown himself to be incapable of rectifying the situation and obviously does not have the authority to get it done, but you do. Even issues not in your constitution or bylaws have to be dealt with, you know the difference between right and wrong, so hold everyone accountable to a higher standard.
Operating with a higher degree of transparency would eliminate 99% of the troublesome issues within the league. Covering up issues, threats of $25,000 fines, and having the attorney send letters, is just going to give an issue wings.
The NAHL is a good league and we would love to see more article submissions from the teams. Why are the team owners not embracing transparency? That could be the difference between success and failure of the league.
What do you think?