The mother of a young hockey player says she wants to set the record straight amid reaction to the release of a conversation between the boy and his coach.
Josh Bear, 16, recorded a Nov. 10 meeting with coach Kevin Rawlick of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Yorkton Maulers.
In the recording, Rawlick was heard swearing at Bear, alleging the boy was performing poorly in practice after being asked to play forward instead of his usual role as a defenceman.
Bear and his parents called for Rawlick to be fired during a press conference in Saskatoon Wednesday alongside Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron.
The story has generated discussion around Saskatchewan, with some saying Rawlick went too far in cursing at a teen player. Others have called the incident part and parcel of playing hockey.
Cindy Bear, Josh’s mother, spoke about the issue on Gormley Thursday.
She said she wanted it to be clear that she and her husband weren’t necessarily upset about the language Rawlick used.
“We know it happens in hockey all across Canada,” she said.
Rather, Cindy said she took issue with Rawlick taking her son out of the dressing room to deliver the lecture.
“It’s when you take a child out of the locker room and put them in the coach’s room with other adults,” she said.
Bear was released by the Maulers following the meeting with Rawlick.
Cindy said she also had problems with the letter sent by the team outlining the reasons for Bear’s release.
“They said Josh had problems in school. Josh is an honour roll student,” she said.
The Yorkton Minor Hockey Association has put Rawlick on probation.
‘I was belittled’
For his part, Bear told 650 CKOM he has no regrets over his decision to go public about his issues with his former coach.
“Going into yesterday, that news conference, I knew there was going to be a lot of people on my side and a lot of people not on my side. I’m glad it’s out there and people are talking about it,” Bear said.
Bear added he was especially taken aback at being taken away from his teammates to be reprimanded.
“I’ve been hockey for all my life. I’ve been yelled at by coaches with a bunch of other teammates in the room, but I’ve been taken aside and sworn at personally,” Bear said.
“You know I agree with everyone 100 per cent who says that’s just a part of the game, but there’s a difference between yelling at and belittling. And I was belittled.”
Bear said he’s already signed on to finish out the season with a AA team based in Melfort, with plans to go on next year to the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Hockey team comments
The Yorkton Maulers broke its silence Thursday afternoon, issuing a media release from the Board of Directors.
In the statement, the hockey club says they do not condone the use of profanity but support the message delivered by coach Kevin Rawlick.
It reads: “As a result of the profanity, Yorkton Minor Hockey has placed Kevin Rawlick on probation for the remainder of the hockey season. Coach Rawlick supports and is in agreement with the directive and he
will enroll in and complete the Respect in Sport Program for both the Coach and Parent programs, no later than December 15, 2017.”
The board says they will not be commenting further on the matter.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Carr.