Haters Gonna Hate

Tragically Run Way.

That was my favourite ‘gem’ gleaned from all the feedback I received regarding my first blog about the wreck of the Kingston Frontenacs.

I wish I had thought of it.   A better spin on my call to rename the Fronts home address, The Tragically Hip Way.

I heard from a lot of vocal Kingston hockey fans who are totally disillusioned after waiting almost two decades since the last playoff win.   There were also a few ‘casual’ fans who let me know they just enjoy the games, win or lose.

They come with no expectations,  never go home disappointed and will pay $10 for a beer.   Nineteen other OHL owners would love to have you.

The response from the Frontenacs organization?    As you might expect;  defensive, dismissive and still in denial.

Has it been 17 years?   We had no idea.   I wish Potter would quit bringing that up,  we’d really prefer if nobody knew.   It’s just a little blip, nothing to worry about, we’re going to get right to work on this and make sure it doesn’t get to 20 years.

Do you want to bet?   Circle 2018 on your calendar kids.

Seriously, the only ‘official’ response from the organization last week was this little beauty posted on social media and directed at me by the Frontenacs Director of Business Operations, “Haters Gonna Hate”.

Really?    That’s all you’ve got?   Haters Gonna Hate?   That’s how you explain to your fans why you’ve gone a generation without winning a playoff series, in a results-driven league?

Keep in mind, this is the same guy who introduced Kingston to ‘sumo races’ between periods.

There was no hatred in my blog, as my former broadcast partner, Jon Begg,  was quick to retort.

How can the Fronts defend the indefensible?   Johnny Cochrane would take O.J. again,  over attempting to defend the Frontenacs past playoff record.

I actually like Doug Springer and Doug Gilmour.   No hatred here.  They’re good people,  I have great respect for what the Springer’s have done in business and for our community, and for what Gilmour accomplished as a Hall of Fame player.

However, the reality is they don’t know squat about building a winning hockey organization and it shows.

What I find most disturbing is the arrogance of this organization.

They truly believe those who buy the tickets have no right to question, debate or criticize what they’re doing.   Even after years of failure, they can’t imagine some might have a better idea worth considering.

Here’s a news flash, if you want to be an owner, GM, coach or player in the top development league in the world,  put on the teflon and be prepared to be second-guessed and take some criticism.

I spent 30 years in front of a TV camera, with strong opinions, in a town where no one seems to have an opinion.   Don’t think I haven’t taken my share of slings and arrows.    Put yourself out there and it comes with the territory.  Same deal in the OHL.

My media friends thanked me for the piece and agreed whole heartedly.  Too bad the local media continues to eat out of the Frontenacs hands and would never dare to tread where I have gone.   There’s a reason why there is no accountability in the Fronts front office, because they are never challenged publicly by anyone.

Kingston hockey supporters chimed in with some great ideas.

One gentleman who was directly involved with the OHL for many years, said when Punch Scherer and Jim Morrison ran this franchise – Kingston was respected around the league.   He added it’s been missing for a long time and you can clearly see it.

It was noted Kingston native Bob Murray has built a wonderful franchise for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, with help from another Kingstonian, Rick Paterson.   He suggested if they were asked they’d likely be more than pleased to evaluate the Fronts organization and offer some valuable advice.   Probably for free, and no one likes free more than those down on Tragically Run Way.

I don’t figure the Fronts will be calling Bob Murray anytime soon.   It would make them look ‘desperate’.    Like not winning a playoff series since 1998 isn’t humiliating enough.

It was suggested the Fronts should host a ‘Town Hall’ meeting  2 or 3 times a season where the owner, GM & coach meet with fans.   A great idea,  several OHL teams have done it.   There is an aloofness with this group that does not play well. They are out of touch and it needs to change.

I heard from ex-Frontenacs, ex-Kingston Canadians and ex-Kingston Raiders,  along with parents of former players who loved my blog and thought it accurately summed up their experience in Kingston.   Not exactly a ringing endorsement.   Is that what you want your alumni saying about Kingston?   Especially when many live here and some are still playing in the NHL?

Then there were those who said let’s just right a really big wrong and bring back Jim Hulton.   Amen brother!   Sometimes a really bad hockey decision can set a franchise back 10 years.   Firing Hulton in 2006 was one of those really bad decisions.

Since leaving Kingston,  Hulton has coached 3 years in the NHL with the Florida Panthers and for the past couple years has been a GM & coach in the United States Junior Hockey League.    He rebuilt his team in Nebraska this season,  finishing one point out of first place (37-17-6) and they just swept their opening round playoff series.

Hulton would love to come back to Kingston, his family is still here.   He’s grown and matured a lot since the last time around and is ready for the dual role of  GM & coach in the OHL.

His resume speaks for itself.   With his NHL experience he knows what it takes to be a pro,  yet loves teaching young players at the junior level.  Seems like a great fit,  if the owner could get past admitting his previous mistake.

Where would that leave Gilmour, who apparently has 2 years left on his contract?

The owner will never fire him, regardless of contract.

It’s time for Dougie G. to take a good hard look in the mirror and admit that all he’s done in Kingston –  is tack 7 more years onto the longest playoff drought in Canadian junior hockey.

Time to suck up your pride and resign.

It’s not like he has to relocate.   And, I hear the Leafs are hiring.

Mark Potter covered the Kingston Frontenacs for 30 years. They’re still not crazy about his opinions

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