Imagine the shock when a parent gets an email from last year’s youth team demanding the balance of fees for the part of the season that was never played. These fees were to cover hotel and travel expenses, billeting, practice ice, and whatever else would have been spent to complete the season.
The family was current with all the payments up until there was no more hockey to be played and their son was home.
In a time when families are struggling just to maintain ANY sense of normalcy, the big green head of greed shows itself for all to see.
After hearing this story from a family on Sunday, I asked the Dad if the contract outlined the team’s responsibilities. Other questions asked were regarding a notice of a USA Hockey Financial Suspension (not received) and if any previous correspondence was received, regarding the issue, before the surprise email. Nothing.
So let’s be clear, I’m not going to “out” this club in this article and understand the financial difficulties associated with the stress the situation has put on our game. We are so poor now it’s hard to even pay attention.
What I do not understand is the thought process behind asking folks to pay for something they did not receive. Does the operator of this team think that parents are just stupid? In what world do they live in when the expectation is to get something for literally nothing?
I told the family to hire the most expensive lawyer they can find in the event the team decides to make the mistake of opening a civil court case against the family. When the case gets tossed out of court faster than a bum out of a five-star restaurant, make sure to seek attorney fees and expenses for having to defend the ridiculous lawsuit. By that time, a good attorney could easily exceed six-figures considering the need for co-counsel in the state the suit was filed in, travel, and that always inflated hourly rate.
Unfortunately, the real damage will occur in that other much harsher venue, the court of public opinion. How difficult would be for a fledging program to recruit new players once the word got out that the club has a history of delivering much less than what they expected to be paid for?
It’s almost as bad as a top-rated junior team enjoying the cash infusion of a main camp just days before announcing dormancy for the season, but that’s a different Dish.