JuniorHockey.com's Randy Russon reported Friday that the Northern Junior Hockey League has indefinitely suspended Soo Thunderbirds head coach Preston Mizzi and his top assistant Jamie Henderson due to allegations of misconduct related to the team.
Never one to pull punches, regardless if the situation involves an advertiser on the site, we are going to try to fill in the blanks to eliminate the speculation of just what these two are accused of doing. Well, Henderson has already told on himself according to a source close to the situation.
Before travelling to Thunder Bay for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup last week, the coaches were already being investigated by an independent third party, a retired Ontario Provincial Officer, due to alleged off-ice behavior by the coaches and team.
The incident that sparked that investigation landed one player in the Soo, Michigan city jail with a underage consumption charge, after members of the coaching staff and team celebrated after winning a game against the Soo Eagles.
That situation was ugly but nothing compared to what happened after winning the Dudley-Hewitt Cup. On the way back to the Soo from Thunder Bay, the coaches and team reportedly did an reenactment of a Cheech and Chong movie on the team bus. Apparently all the cookies were baked long before the team arrived in Sault Ste. Marie.
Needless to say, the party on the bus should go down in history as the last act of Mizzi and Henderson's coaching career.
What in the heck were these two yahoos thinking? Obviously the pair lost track of what their primary mission as coaches is, to be a leader of young men. The driver of the bus should equally face the loss of employment. It was obvious that the coaches lost the ability to control the situation so ultimately responsibility should have fallen on the driver. If I am driving that bus, it would have been stopped at the first whiff of the funny smoke.
NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca did the right thing by quickly reacting to the facts he was presented. I am sure that the Thunderbirds will be able to recoup in time for the Royal Bank Cup and know that General Manager Kevin Cain has the experience to lead the boys through it. Cain should consider having that retired officer along for the ride.
What do you think?