2018, Not a Banner Year For The CLA

Photo Credit: Cliff McCaig

The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) has not had the best track record as of late. First it was the dispute between the CLA and Player Association that almost blocked Canada from going to the FIL World Lacrosse Champions in Israel this summer. That was finally resolved and from then on it seemed like everything was going smoothly.

Well, the CLA is under fire again after what has unfolded over the past twenty four hours at the Minto Cup. First off, I want to say thanks to the Minto Cup organizers in Alberta as none of this is your fault at all. It is just a bad hand that the tournament organizers were dealt this year. 

Back track to Tuesday night when the Minto Cup Finals kicked off. In a very well played and physical game between the Coquitlam Adanacs and Brampton Excelsiors Coquitlam would win and go up 1-0 in the best of five series. After the game was over Brampton head coach Dan Teat and star player Jeff Teat apparently verbally assaulted an official for some questionable calls made at the end of the game. Both Teats, player and coach, were assessed game penalties which result in a three game suspension. Jake Elliott reported the suspensions Wednesday morning as the lacrosse world started a frenzy with the #FreeJeffTeat. Little did we all know that things would get even more crazy as the day went on and eventually leading up to game two of the finals. 

Before each of these national tournaments their are pre-tournament meetings to discuss things and agree on certain rules. One of those rules that was agreed on was that game penalties could not be appealed. Reminder that everyone agreed on this rule before the tournament started. 

That rule would come into question after it was revealed that an appeal had been filed for the suspensions given to Jeff and Dan the night before. So, there is an appeal of what was perceived to be the game penalty assessed the night before when all teams agreed that appeals weren't going to be allowed. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Later on reports came out that stated the CLA held a hearing and Jeff Teat may be able to play in game two. 

As the teams came out to warm up for the game there was no Jeff Teat to be seen so it was clear he was still suspended, so we thought. Just minutes before the game the Minto Cup tweeted that their had been a hearing and Jeff Teat had just come on the floor. Dan Teat's suspension was upheld. Jeff Teat was out warming up with Brampton as the officials came out onto the floor. The minute they saw Teat they left the building and said they would not officiate the game if Teat was playing. 

As a result the game was delayed for a while. After what seemed like forever we finally heard news that game two of the Minto Cup had officially been cancelled.

Later it came out that Brampton was appealing the way the suspension was handled and that is completely allowed. So there were no rules broken here at all. Still it looks bad as they didn't even inform anyone about it until the player came on to the floor to warm up. This is not any one's fault but the CLA's. You would also expect the officials to handle the situation a little better than they did as well. 

Each and everyone of those players and coaches have put in countless hours of hard work to get to where they are and then it turns into a circus because of the higher ups. The CLA did exactly what they have done in the past, mess up. Things need to change and everyone knows it. Wednesday night was an embarrassment to everyone involved in the sport. At this point there are some people who are just calling for the tournament to be cancelled. I mean the seats have been practically empty all week and now it has turned into the circus. The sad part is that there is a lot of talent in the Minto Cup and it really is a grand event. Everyone involved in this tournament deserves much better than this. 

At times like this I like to turn to the great things that lacrosse can do for people, the true medicine of the game. You didn't have to look far away from the Minto Cup to see the medicine on Wednesday night. Coquitlam Adanacs goalie Christian Del Bianco came out after the game was cancelled and played with all the little kids that were there. Now that is what this sport is all about. Christian may never know the impact he made on those kids tonight but I can assure you that he did. It was just fantastic to see the true meaning of the game still alive and well after all that had transpired that night.




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