A Midget AAA hockey player is calling for a coach to be fired after recording a profanity-laced meeting earlier in November.
Josh Bear, 16, said he was released from the Yorkton Maulers of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) days after a Nov. 10 meeting with coach Kevin Rawlick.
A man’s voice, alleged to be Rawlick, on the three-and-a-half minute recording begins by telling “Bearsy” he’s fed up with how many times he has to deal with the player’s parents.
“I’m going to lose my f—ing nuts here,” he begins. “Every f—ing time I try to deal with you, you get your f—ing mom and dad involved.”
The man goes on to criticize Bear for taking a bad penalty, and questioning the decision to assign the teenager as an alternate captain.
“Remember you’re an assistant captain, a guy that I f—ing wanted to give that letter to because I thought you could be accountable,” the voice said.
He alleges Bear left a practice without telling the coach. When he sent a text message to Bear asking where he went, Bear responded with his father’s phone number.
“Is that your agent? Do I have to go through your dad for everything?” the voice asks.
He also takes issue with Bear’s behaviour at the team’s recent practices, when the defenceman was asked to fill in at forward due to a shortage of players on left wing, saying the 16-year-old was “moaning and whining” about the switch.
By the end of the meeting, the coach tells Bear he’s suspended from the Maulers for his behaviour over the Nov. 11-12 weekend. He tells the teen to speak with his father and make a decision about his future with the team.
At a Saskatoon news conference held with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Wednesday, Bear said he was released from the team through a text message after that weekend.
The player, also signed with the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs, said he recorded the meeting because the coach had been swearing at him for several practices before.
“I was scared,” he said. “I knew having (the recording) I felt a little safer.”
Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) General Manager Kelly McClintock told 650 CKOM Rawlick was put on probation by the Yorkton Minor Hockey Association. The coach is also required to complete Hockey Canada’s “Respect in Sport” training course by Dec. 15.
McClintock said while profane language can be a reality in locker rooms across the country, coaches should be avoiding the sort of words used in the recording.
“The coach was at his wit’s end and used the wrong language,” he said.
“You should not use any (of that) type of language.”
Throughout the audio recording, the voice alleged to be Rawlick’s uses a total of 30 expletives in describing the events surrounding Bear and the team.
At several points he attests he “likes” Bear, referring to the boy’s alternate captaincy and skills.
“You made the most sense to us,” the coach says of the decision to move Bear to the wing.
A brief conversation also occurs where the coach notes he contacted the SJHL Mustangs to inform them Bear may be playing a few shifts at forward, and explained the shortage on left wing as the reason why.
“Once again catering to you, because I knew you were going to f—ing pout about it,” he said.
Bear protests the coach telling the team about the switch.
“Now they’re going to think I’m a versatile player … I don’t want them thinking that,” he said.
Player says he’s singled out, scared
At Wednesday’s news conference, Bear said he was being singled out.
“I haven’t really heard him swear at anyone else,” he said. “From all the swearing and verbal abuse I’ve been taking from this guy, I’m beginning to be a bit scared of him.”
Bear joined the Maulers in 2016-17, netting eight assists and 72 penalty minutes in 36 games according to his EliteProspects.com profile.
In 11 games this season, Bear collected three goals, two assists and 18 penalty minutes.
His father Timothy said they went to collect Bear’s equipment after the release, and found some of it damaged. His helmet cage had been bent, while the clips and ear loops for the head gear were missing, they said.
Timothy Bear also wondered if his son, from Ochapowace First Nation, was being singled out for racial reasons.
“I can’t be black and white about why this took place. But how many other kids are on that team, and Josh Bear from Ochapowace First Nation is the only one going through this?” he asked.
The family is being supported by FSIN, which has called for Rawlick to be fired. The Saskatchewan Hockey Association, SMAAAHL and Yorkton Maulers have all been contacted by the family and organization.
— With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Carr.