How does a junior hockey team “accidentally” house a underage minor player at the home of a convicted sex offender?
Details are still coming to light, but it has been discovered that the player was under 18 years old and the billet dad’s case involved a teen-age girl (that he met at a bar) over ten years ago.
The relationship lasted three months and charges where brought against him when the parents discovered that their fourteen year-old daughter’s boyfriend was really thirty-three. Did he figure it out, how could he not? There could be a simple explanation to many issues in today’s society but we all know stuff happens. This guy has changed his life, got married, and now has a few kids of his own.
The facts however are clear; the player was placed into the home without the background check being completed. A neighbor informed the player of the billet dad’s registration as a sex-offender. This is wrong. The team put the player in a very bad position because he actually liked the family, the kids were nice, and he was treated very well. Ultimately the player, along with others, left the team due to a number of other “over-sights” and unfulfilled promises.
Oh, the joys of junior hockey.
This situation could have turned out much worse. The bottom line is that every billet needs to be screened and visited before a player is placed into the home. The same goes for both volunteer and paid team staff. Failure to do so should result in the suspension of the team’s sanctioning along with a substantial punitive reinstatement fee.
This rule needs to apply to every hockey team on the continent that utilizes a billet system for out of town players. The issue is the lack of oversight from any single entity. With Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, the Amateur Athletic Union and now the rogue leagues operating without any oversight, it's very important that the parents of underage players become proactive in the process.
Parents should never assume that the team has done the homework, demand proof. If the team refuses to provide that evidence, it's obvious not the right place to send your player.
The risks are not worth the reward.
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.