This is embarrassing and appalling to the game of hockey.
More and more professional hockey players are finally coming out of the woodwork and exposing what really goes on behind the scenes between owners, players, and the clubs they are representing. The latest to come out and add his thoughts to this epidemic is Matt Suderman who is currently playing with the Brampton Beast of the Central Hockey League.
Suderman spent some time with the Hull Stingrays of the EIHL and after taking a whole lot of time to cool off, he finally cleared the air of what happened. Essentially, another case of greed from a club owner by the name of Bobby McEwan. You can read Suderman’s entire statement here. I’m going to touch on a couple of things.
“Things were so bad that players were paying for portions of their skates/equipment because McEwan refused to buy certain brands (which were higher quality), he claimed they only wanted that brand because it was more expensive and thought everyone was out to get him.”
You’re kidding me right? You couldn’t even supply the players on your own team the basic necessities to perform on the god damn ice because you have this premonition that they’re out to “get you”? Come on, give your head a shake. Hockey is a business first and foremost. Like any business you have to spend money to make money. It’s common business sense. You think the players are out to get you because they just want to protect themselves with better equipment? Someone’s delusional.
“In my 10 years of pro hockey I’ve never seen anything like it. McEwan (owner) refused to give his players even the smallest luxury, like soap and shampoo.”
Not even commenting on that one. That’s just unfathomable.
“Somehow Bobby McEwan worked out a deal where the team would receive money for players attending schools and working with the kids. A majority of the visits were done by younger British players who didn’t receive a salary. They were promised money for these visits and went to schools two, sometimes three times a week, some of the visits were for three or four hours. None of them have seen a dime of the money promised, all of the money went straight into McEwan’s pocket. During Movember, a player had somebody fundraising for him during a game, for charity. Bobby McEwan was irate, claiming this player was taking money from him, and even demanded a cut of the money raised. “
If these allegations are true, (which I’m 99.9% certain they are), this has to be one of the most unacceptable things I’ve ever read. Its one thing to steal from your players (which is still damn unthinkable) but to demand a cut of money that’s raised for charity just makes you a complete scumbag. I don’t know this guy, but just that alone gives the Hull Stingrays and to an extent the EIHL a black eye in the hockey world. I’m glad I don’t know what charity this money was raised for otherwise, I’d be ripping even more.
The most terrible part of this whole thing is that Matt Suderman is not the only player that this is happening to. Although Joe Grimaldi is a bit of a pain in the locker room according to some players, he brought a few hate fueled tweets to Twitter a few weeks ago concerning the owner of the Nottingham Panthers. However, the EIHL is not the only league that this is happening to either. It’s an epidemic that needs to be stopped. No longer are hockey players just walking doorknobs who don’t know anything about business practices and just play the game anymore. Everyone is informed on how things work.
You also can’t get away with things in this day and age especially with the presence of social media. Things get out and they get out quick. Whether this will do anything to the club is another story but every damn team would be in much better positions with owners who care. Of course that’s far fetched to say.
Suderman isn’t the only one. Mike Danton came out earlier this year about how he was treated in Kazakhstan. That’s Kazakhstan though and you can kind of expect it to come from there. Not a hockey “juggernaut” like the EIHL. Even over year in North America with leagues like the LNAH, FHL, to a lesser extent the CHL, it’s happening here too.
Sadly, nothing is ever going to change. It would need to take a whole overhaul of a team or league to get things moving in the right direction with players getting what they’re owed. As long as they type of owners are in charge, there’s not much hope. I hope more and more players start to come out with how they’re being treated. It’s almost as if there’s a stigma attached to it. Almost like you’re not man enough to take it if you speak up. Well guess what, times have change and it’s time to get your due.