Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gillis' promise to take action on risky activities performed by players

This was what Mike Gillis quoted to the Vancouver Sun on Friday, and I have been talking about it with friends of mine ever since.

"Moving forward, we are most definitely going to have policies and educational programs, not only for events like riding a motorcycle but for anything that may impact and affect their careers," Gillis said.
Clearly, when you have an event like this that happens with a young person you have to begin to think about what's best for them and make sure they have an opportunity to fulfil their goals and dreams."
This may sound insensitive, but I have two words for Gillis: "knee-jerk" and "bullshit". I don't believe there is any need for people in power to start pushing red alarm buttons over the Bourdon tragedy. What kind of "policies" is Gillis referring to? That players under contract cannot sky dive or ride a speed bike? Gillis, according to the Sun, chose to "pass" on the question of whether or not players would be prohibited from riding motorcycles. So he's not denying that. Gillis also said:
"It isn't like Luc wasn't responsible, it's just that it's a risky position for anyone to get on a motorcycle.
Whenever I heard a young player was doing something that might end up in a bad risk to their lives, we played a very influential role trying to stop that," Gillis said.
Speaking frankly, we know Luc's mom begged him not to buy the bike. That being said, HE WAS A KID. How often to kids out of high school for example heed their parent's advice, especially males (I'll use as an example)? Has Gillis and anyone else in his shoes forgotten what it's like to be 21? Most of us were reckless, care-free, hair-straight-back. No authority figure was going to tell us what to do. We would figure out life on our own.
Whether or not parents beg their children not to do something dangerous, or if NHL management instructs them not to, these guys in the 19-23-ish age limit are going to do it anyway. To me, that is fine. Don't heap this "your life has so much potential" crap on them. What are the chances they are going to listen?
Bourdon told his mother:
"I can die in a plane, I can die in a car, I can die walking out onto the street. I don't want to live in fear. I want to enjoy life to the fullest. Don't worry, Mom, I'll be safe. I won't be crazy.'"
Don't you ever remember telling your mother that? I did all the time. I'd go hiking in the bush without a gun and walk along narrow mountain tops and climb in abandoned mining holes, etc and always told my worrying mother: "Don't worry, I'll be fine." She couldn't stop me from doing those things because I wouldn't listen. And I took risks doing those activities.
I don't think Gillis should deny the youth their chance of being just that...young. I don't care how much is at stake money-wise or career-wise. Let the kids be kids.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not referring to drunk driving or cocaine use being tolerated. I'm referring to any sport or activity that is done for the "rush."
Hockey players, well-known ones, have the right to experience these youthful years. Don't cast them into adulthood before they are ready for it. That is what I am getting from Gillis' statements.
Bourdon perished doing something he really loved doing. I don't think this tragedy should bring on strict guidelines for these kids to cut it out. Guide them to "play safe" perhaps, but don't take their privilege of being a youth away.

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2 Comments:

At June 1, 2008 at 11:30 PM , Anonymous GZ Expat said...

Agreed.

1. Gillis forgets he's not a player agent anymore. If he wants to insert something into a players contract, it has to be agreeable to the player as well as the NHLPA. He's got a bit of work to do to get that into contracts today.

2. When your time is up, your time is up.

3. Remember the man...and move on. The NHL did the right thing and I was very impressed with the Pittsburgh crowd and the absolute silence the exhibited. Touching.

 
At June 2, 2008 at 8:54 AM , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Nicely put, GZ.
There's a lot of anger at CDC over NBC not showing the moment of silence but rather airing commercials instead. I guess those guys don't even know who Bourdon is.
But yeah, it's time to move on. I'll miss the kid, but it's time.

 

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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.