Steve Simoes: The Cornwall River Kings saga in his own words

The following is a complete unedited account from Cornwall River Kings captain, Steve Simoes.

Simoes has been with the team since it’s inception and has been the glue in keeping this team together from the inside. Without him, players would’ve upped and gone a long time ago. It’s a shame that it has come to this. Without further ado, your captain. – March Hockey


250x250-Steve_SimoesSo where do we go from here?
I have been around the game a few years and in this league since 2008. Never have I seen such drama and attempt for power as I have seen here in Cornwall. The problem with this team has always been people and their attempt of being “the main guy”. There were people who have been involved with this organization that only care about their own personal accolades and personal image of grandeur then the respect for the game.
In my years in this league, I have rarely seen my owner(s) and didn’t really want to see them. The person who usually owns the team is in the background running things and making sure things go well. However, here in Cornwall, we have had a nice exuberant owner who wore an Elvis costume once in a while and  even spotted in as a mascot at times (although paid all his bills – was present, but was led down a few wrong paths by a few wrong people); a group of three owners that had their own interior turmoil because of a power struggle within the group; a new owner this season, who used this platform as a way to bolster publicity and be in the spotlight in order to gain a seat in council and then a more recent owner who would have liked the spotlight but never had the opportunity.
When it was time to be known as the “head honcho”, everyone wanted their name and face in the paper, but when things turned sour, well, “please don’t publish my face and name”. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, maybe it would’ve been better to let it die. But how do you let it die, when a good portion of the population enjoys the hockey and the show?

The issues of this team have always been about power struggles.


In the first season we had a few members of the staff that believed he could do everything, from equipment to GM to coaching to office duties and so on. The guy behind the desk didn’t just want that job, he wanted to be the GM; the guy who did the equipment wasn’t happy with just that and thought he could be GM too. Anyone with a JOB or DUTY, wasn’t happy with their situation and always wanted what the other person had.

1297466522158_ORIGINALFor Christs sake, just do your JOB or DUTY. We are a team, from the big guy to the little guy.

There was rumours of potential investors, but all these potential investors came with a twist. They were either connected to one or the other guy who wanted to be GM or the “head honcho”.
Does that surprise any of you? Cornwall, please explain to me why people can’t just be proud of what their job is and can’t just do that job to the best of their ability, without always having the spotlight? For a town of hard working farmers, very humble blue collar workers and simple family oriented white collars, how can everything be so darn complicated?
I have unfortunately been privy to many conversations and situations since joining this team. Some conversations baffled me and made me scratch my head, but who am I to judge; it was not my money. A new owner comes in every year, with different ideas but the same issue arises. They’re trying to work IN THE BUSINESS INSTEAD OF ON THE BUSINESS. You should be upstairs and not standing behind the bench (which happened more often than it should have).

Lets be honest.

1297407761910_originalIt takes money to run a team in any league, and you can’t expect to spend like the Buffalo Sabres and have a Pittsburgh Penguins situation.

The intent this year was obvious from the get-go.

This was all to provide a political stepping stone for someone and the rest didn’t matter. I have never seen an owner take the microphone so many times at center ice, before a game, in my whole hockey career. In my 11 years pro and junior hockey, it has maybe happened 3 times (totalling this years total).

Then the polls close and there is a supposed sale. To whom? For how much? I don’t know, and usually wouldn’t care. Until checks start bouncing and money goes missing. Who the hell is telling the truth? How does this even happen? Can’t point fingers yet until the truth comes out. But just another chapter in this ridiculous drama that continues to tar the reputation of the team, the league and the people involved.

Last year was no better.

I know people like to point the finger at one owner in particular, but there were three; and two were more-so present than others. I know that there was a power struggle last season between the owners. One owner wanted more spotlight and attention toward his business and was upset that it was always the other owner who was leading the charge. But when it came time to pay the piper, that owner bowed out and scurried off to another city, leaving the total bill with the other two. The reality is what it is.

In the end, they sold their other business at a lucrative profit and left unpaid players, staff and invoices. But I do recall, in a meeting around this time of the year last season, one owner did say “Money is not a problem, we have the money”. Oh, my friend, your handshake means nothing and you lied again. SURPRISE… And in the end, a person I consider a friend, got had.

1297616301986_ORIGINALBut the fools in all this are the players. Yes the fans as well, but with all do respect, we are the ones out there taking a toll on our bodies and attemtping to provide some entertainment.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Yes we are paid, and yes, some nights we are better than others but we are asked to play and create a form of entertainment, and then get compensated for it. Like trained elephants at a circus, we are there to provide a fun experience for the family and every hockey lover. I love to put on a show and play the sport I love. I am passionate about it and try to play the game I respect in the same fashion. But even the bears and elephants expect a peanut or two, to keep them going and provide an incentive to perform.

When there is such instability, turmoil and power struggles, and the peanut doesn’t get to the elephant, you cant expect the elephant to dance and play and do back flips. I made that mistake last season, in asking the players to continue to play without their full ration of peanuts. They trusted me because I vouched for certain people (including the league – who really does want success here), but in the end, half the peanuts were there and the entertainment value took a hit. So what am I to do this time?

I have always said things the way I see them and sometimes filtered certain things out of respect.
But I will not lie, be a hypocrite, and deceive people.
If I ask my team to go out there and play hard and don’t do it myself, then what kind of person does that make me? I care about winning. I care about my team and what it represents. My role has always been a grinding power forward that just does his JOB and DUTY, and I love that job.
I respect that job.
I embody that job.
No power struggle in my head, or with our team. If we all accept our job and duty, and stop trying to do someone else’s, we may just win and succeed. Until then, the promise of entertainment, without the peanut is tough. And for those that know me well, know that I don’t do this for the money (although it is nice to get compensated for what you do); I do it cause I love the game and this is quite the way to retire – maybe sooner rather than later.
In the end, worthy of a scene in the movie Dumb and Dumber – we may end up being like Lloyd Christmas, with a black Samsonite suitcase, full of I.O.U’s. “That’s as good as money sir, those are IOUs. Go ahead and add it up every cents accounted for.”
Fool me once…
Steve Simoes



Author: MarchHockey

Owner/Editor Sports. Music. Nursing. Life. Twitter: @MarchHockey

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