|Volume 92, Issue 63
Wednesday, January 20, 1999
elmer the elephant
Ryerson head coach Carnevale crosses the thin blue line
I have had the pleasure, for the better part of a year and a half, of covering a variety of university sports around Ontario.
One of the things which most impresses myself and the fans of Canadian university sports, is the sportsmanship of many of the competitors and coaches who are involved with athletics at this elite level.
Fair play and sportsmanship have defined university sport and they are two of the few things which make university athletics unique.
On Saturday night at Thompson Arena this uniqueness was put in doubt by the actions of one man. During the hockey game between the hometown Mustangs and the visiting Ryerson Rams, Rams head coach Louie Carnevale epitomized ignorance.
Western was a heavy favourite going into the game, but thanks to the Rams heart and perseverance they were able to skate with the highly skilled Mustangs. Sadly Ryerson's play on the ice, a testament to the level of play in university hockey and the desire of a team to keep fighting when the chips are stacked against them, was lost for the evening as a result of the actions of their coach.
Carnevale is a passionate coach, but after witnessing his behaviour on Saturday, it seems he is a little too passionate.
Late in the second period of Saturday's game, there was a skirmish in front of the Mustang bench. Western players were clearly in the wrong as they mugged a Ryerson defender.
While these actions are not condoned by anyone (a penalty was forthcoming), Carnevale felt it was his duty to berate Western players. This shows a complete lack of respect for the game and its combatants. In sport, any differences between competitors is dealt with on the field of play and the coaches of the teams should not become involved. It's fine if a coach wants to verbally jab with another coach, but to verbally abuse the opposing players crosses the line.
From there, the game took a turn for the worse and both teams on the ice became willing pugilists. This chippiness culminated with a minor melee with about a minute left in the game resulting in four players being ejected.
Once the ice was cleared of the scattered equipment, the incident, for players it seemed, was over, as the final minute went off without a hitch. But what happened after the game is what really put a bad taste in the mouths of everyone in attendance.
One of the greatest aspects of CIAU hockey is that many of the combatants know one another and when the game is over the two teams shake hands and many players stay on the ice to catch up with old teammates or friends.
On this night, however, Carnevale, obviously upset at either the officiating or the Mustangs or both, took his troops immediately to their dressing room, while the Mustangs lined up at centre ice to give their respects to a team which fought incredibly hard to make a decent game out of the contest. Carnevale would have none of it, showing disrespect to everyone involved in the game, the referees, the players (including his) and the coaches, completely lacking any degree of class.
It truly is a shame considering the effort given by his Rams. They outworked their opponents but their effort was undermined by their coach.
For many CIAU teams, coaches help with the growing and maturing process of the athletes under their guidance. Hopefully in this case, his players know not to take this lesson from him.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999