Posted in #OHIP4IVF, Canada, Community, disaster, family, government, Life, money, Parenting, politics, Toronto

Ontario Provincial Election Primer 2018. Undecided? Read This!

On June 7th, 2018, Ontarians will get an opportunity to vote in an election which will shape the way our province runs for the next 4-years.

The decision we make, has to be made based on what is best for the collective whole, what is best for us, and what is best for the next generation of Ontario Taxpayers, and not based on what people will say about us, our Province, our Premier or our Prime Minister.

The task is a tough one, but let’s try to shed some light on the platforms and what to expect for the next 4-years, and see if that helps you decide who gets your vote.

In 2014, the Ontario Liberal Government made these promises;

Personal taxes

Liberal 2014 pledge was to “Raise taxes on top 2% of Ontario earners”

In order to see how they did, I pulled the Ontario tax rates from the Canadian Tax Returns from 2010-2018.

Ontario tax rates

2018: 5.05% on income of $42,960 or less, 9.15% on $42,963-$64,077, 11.16% on $64,077-$70,000,  12.16% on $70,000-$220,000 and 13.16% on income over $220,000.

2017: $42,201 or less @5.05%, $42,201-$84,404 @ 9.15%, $84,404-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, over $220,000 @ 13.16%

2016: $41,536 or less @ 5.05%, $41,536-$83,075 @ 9.15%, $83,075-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, Over $220,000 @ 13.16%.

2015: Less than $40,922 @ 5.05%, $40,922-$81,847 @ 9.15%, $81,847-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, and income more than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2014: $40,120 or less @ 5.05%, $40,120-$80,342 @ 9.15%, $80,242-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$240,000 @ 12.16%, More than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2013: $39,723 or less @5.05%, $39,723-$79,448 @ 9.15%, $79,448-$509,000 @11.16%, over $509,000 @13.16%

2012: $39,020 or less @ 5.05%, $39,020 – $78,043 @ 9.15%, $78,043-$500,000 @ 11.16%, More than $500,000 @ 12.16%.

2011: $37,774 or less @ 5.05%, $37,774-$75,550 @ 9.15%, More than $75,550 @ 11.16%.

2010: $37,106 or less @ 5.05%, $37,106-$74,214 @ 9.15%, More than $74,214 @ 11.16%


As you can see, the tax brackets move year over year, and there have been additional tax brackets added. Here is how much Ontarians earned, according to Statistics Canada census.

According to Statistics Canada

Individuals by total income level, by province and territory (Ontario)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
number of persons
Total, all income groups 9,741,870 9,743,420 9,867,280 10,083,520 10,157,280
Under $5,000 872,840 799,690 805,190 855,500 764,990
$5,000 and over 8,869,030 8,943,730 9,062,090 9,228,020 9,392,290
$10,000 and over 8,155,630 8,245,590 8,375,390 8,562,450 8,748,520
$15,000 and over 7,219,670 7,322,660 7,457,070 7,655,920 7,878,190
$20,000 and over 6,301,960 6,416,620 6,545,820 6,745,310 6,974,390
$25,000 and over 5,530,610 5,645,750 5,772,340 5,959,770 6,184,900
$35,000 and over 4,334,550 4,460,560 4,582,210 4,749,620 4,948,440
$50,000 and over 2,852,030 2,972,470 3,087,320 3,230,610 3,394,390
$75,000 and over 1,404,030 1,487,700 1,574,090 1,668,890 1,771,250
$100,000 and over 658,520 707,620 766,990 819,960 886,190
$150,000 and over 231,310 246,520 265,550 278,330 305,590
$200,000 and over 122,190 128,140 136,290 141,740 157,450
$250,000 and over 78,370 81,210 86,300 88,600 98,750
Median total income 30,290 31,310 31,820 32,380 33,840

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, there were 10,157,280 Ontario Taxpayers.

For the Liberals to increase taxes on the top 2% of them would, mean increasing taxes for approximately, 203,145.6 Ontarians, which would be every Ontarian earning over $200,000 per year.

It looks like that has happened, and I’m sure many would support that, but have a closer look at the numbers, and you will see that in 2013, the top tax rate of 13.16% applied only to Ontarians earning over $500,000, but that was dropped in 2014 to apply to Ontarians who earned over $220,000.

In 2013, if you earned $200,000, your tax rate was 9.16%. In 2014, it was 12.16%, and in 2015, it was 13.16%

That is a 4% increase on the highest income earners!

Wait until later in this post to see what the Liberals did to the “middle class” and how much their taxes increased!


Corporate taxes

In 2014, the Liberals promised to;

  • Maintain corporate tax rate at 11.5% for now
  • Increase tax rate on aviation fuel
  • Remove small business tax deduction currently used by large businesses

Fact: Ontario Corporate Tax Rates have a low and a high, and in 2018, the rate was 3.5%-11.5%.

The low end is one of the highest in Canada, while the high end is one of the lowest in Canada.

Under the Liberal government who states that Corporations must pay their fair share, the Ontario General corporate income tax rate was:

14% before July 1, 2010

12% June 30, 2010

11.5% after June 30, 2011.


In the most recent budget, the Ontario Liberal government matched the Federal Liberal government and got rid of the Small Business Deduction – which reduced the corporate income tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income of Canadian‑controlled private corporations (CCPC) earned to 4.5%.

As of January 1, 2018, the lower rate of Ontario corporate income tax decreased from 4.5% to 3.5% and CCPC’s with taxable capital is between $10 million and $15 million are no longer eligible for the preferential corporate income tax rate of 4.5% on the first $500,000 of active business income.



In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Increase minimum wage to $11/hour
  • Spend $2.5 billion over 10-years on a Jobs and Prosperity Fund to attract and keep businesses in the province
  • Spend $38-million in the Youth Employment Fund in 2014-15 until September 2015
  • Simplify and restructure Foreign Credential Recognition Program
  • Spend $25-million in the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund over 3 years to promote aboriginal business
  • Create a regulated crowdfunding system
  • Spend $75-million on a “wine strategy” to encourage exports of Ontario VQA winesAside from really jacking up the minimum wage which resulted in the largest loss of part-time jobs in the history of this province, the government spent a lot of our taxpayer dollars in areas which are difficult to measure the cost to job ratio.


In 2014, the Liberals pledged to;

  • Balance the budget by 2017-18

Not even close! Between 2007-08 and 2018-19, Ontario’s debt grew from $157 billion to $325 billion.

One only has to look at this chart from the National Post to see the damage that Liberal Spending has done to the deficit, which we all have to pay back, eventually.

In 1985, the Liberals under David Peterson arrived, marking the defeat of Ontario’s four-decade conservative dynasty.

In 1990, Bob Rae became premier with the NDP forming Ontario’s government for the first time in history and their tenure coincided with the worst recession since the end of WWII, resulting in plunging revenues and growing expenditures in an effort to maintain services and stimulate the economy.

The resulting deficits were as high as $12.4 billion and saw the accumulation of $63.4 billion in net public debt.

By 1995, Ontario’s net public debt had reached $101.9 billion.

The NDP government was replaced in 1995 by Mike Harris’s Conservative government, which began expenditure reduction (cut costs) and restructuring to balance the budget as well as tax reductions to stimulate the economy.

Lower taxes, lower interest rates and a booming U.S. economy together helped Ontario’s economy rebound and government revenues grew, helping close the budgetary gap.

Ontario balanced its budget by 1999 but its net debt still grew to $138.8-billion under Ernie Eves in 2003 from $101.9-billion in 1995.

The defeat of Eves ushered in the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty in 2003 and then Kathleen Wynne in 2013.

This period witnessed the largest debt accumulation in Ontario’s history.

Between 2003 and 2014, Ontario’s net public debt grew to $287.3 billion from $138.8 billion – an increase of $148.5-billion.

The Liberals reduced it once, by $1.1 billion dollars after selling of part of Hydro 1, but that surely cannot be the only way to pay down the debt, can it?  Once all the assets are gone, what would they use?

Ontario has been a province since 1867 but 87% of its net public debt was accumulated in the years since 1990.

*** Interest on this debt is $11 billion a year! ***


Health care

In 2014, the Liberals pledged;

  • Increase hourly wage for personal support workers by $1.50 in 2014 and 2015 and $1 in 2016
  • $20-million to improve access to primary care physicians
  • Expand home, community and supported home care for 46,000 more seniors
  • Access to dental services for 70,000 more children in low-income families
  • Create low-income health benefit to provide vision care, drug coverage and mental health services to low-income families
  • Eliminate service waitlists for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities
  • $5-million to Children’s treatment centres
  • Expand and improve hospitals over a 10-year plan
  • Cap or cut hospital parking fees for frequent hospital visits
  • Establish Patient Ombudsman


Unfortunately, this Liberal government will be known for failing hospitals, failing patients, and failing to take full care of the lowest income earners.

Instead of free medication for the poorest Ontarians, the Liberals provided free medication for children.

Nursing homes are still over crowded. Hospitals are still over crowded. Doctor’s are leaving the province due to the Liberals poor negotiation / tax increase on them.


  • The Provincial Pension Plan to provide further retirement savings to the Canada Pension Plan

But thanks to the Federal Liberal government, this did not happen and while the concept was a good idea, the burden of cost for administering this program would fall to the employers, who have already been hit with increased taxes, and in 2014, had no idea what was to come with the sharp rise in the minimum wage.



  • Implement full-day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year-olds by September 2014
  • Expand student nutrition program to 340 more schools
  • Integrate 60 minutes of physical activity into the school day
  • 3-year $150-million spent on technology and learning fund for tools such as tablets and cameras and professional development for teachers
  • $10-million to create Experience Ontario – Done – Experience Ontario is a pilot program for a limited number of recent high school graduates who have an interest in attending postsecondary education or apprenticeship training, but are uncertain of their next steps.
  • Keep 30% off tuition grant for post-secondary students – Hidden tax increase because if tuition drops by 30% and teachers / teaching assistants, etc., keep getting pay raises, then who gets to make up the difference… Ontario Taxpayers!
  • Build new post-secondary campuses and create spaces for 15,000 more students – this was announced – to be built in Markham – a joint venture between Seneca College and York University. Ironically, after the York University FINALLY opened, a mere 10-years later than it should have, the government plans to build this campus where there is no underground service… Can you say commuter University part 2.



In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Invest $15-billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including the electrification of GO Express Rail and downtown relief line
  • All-day regional express rail GO service in Waterloo Region
  • Invest $14-billion in transit projects outside GTHA, including $1-billion in Ring of Fire transportation infrastructure
  • Two-way, all-day GO Train service in more communities
  • $2.5-billion for highways including expanding Hwy. 427 and expanding Hwy. 7 to four lanes between Kitchener and Guelph

They didn’t agree to speed up the building of current Toronto projects like the Eglinton LRT, or the proposed Finch LRT, which has been dragging along for 6-years costing commuters and business owners significant amounts of money each and every day. Ultimately, they can propose what they want, but they have to get the job done, and that has not happened, anywhere.  Traffic is getting worse by the day.



  • Lower auto insurance rates by an average of 15% by August 2015
  • Create Consumer Bill of Rights

This pledge was a giant joke, as Ontarians pay some of the highest insurance rates in the world, while Ontario insurance companies make some of the highest profits in the world.  Additionally, what good is a Bill of Rights without any teeth? 

Family care

  • Pay for one cycle of in vitro fertilization – check. Good one!
  • Increase Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 & index it to inflation afterward – done. Currently at $1378 per child per year.
  • Call on federal parties to include a national child care program in 2015 election platforms… Err, okay, this has not happened. Maybe they should focus on, I don’t know, Ontario!
  • Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates for people with disabilities by 1% in 2014-15

Where was removing the Child Fitness Tax Credit??? Wasn’t mentioned but was removed – essentially a tax increase! Families put kids in programs for health and due to the tax incentive.  The removal of this credit is significant, sadly.

WSIB is killing Ontario businesses due to the costs to administer and it punishes the workers. This needed a major overhaul, but wasn’t touched.



  • Eliminate debt retirement charge on residential electricity bills
  • Develop program to reduce electricity bills for low-income families
  • Keep Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to help businesses reduce energy costs
  • Expand outer boundary of Greenbelt over next six years
  • Promote urban forestry
  • Address algae problems in Great Lakes
  • $30-million over next 10 years to maintain Walkerton Clean Water Centre
  • $30-million over next three years to promote local food
  • $25-million over three years for cycling strategy CycleOn
  • Expand provincial trail network

I’m not even going to touch this disaster portfolio by the Liberals. They spent, spent and then spent more, and they taxed, raised, and increased anything and everything to pay for their out-of-control spending. Gas taxes went up, user fees increased, hydro coasts soared, Liberals went to jail, Liberals went on trial, and everybody had to pay.


Political reforms

  • Maintain MPPs’ salary freeze – still $116,500 as it was in 2008. Not even increased in line with inflation. That must suck.
  • Cap public sector and broader public sector executives’ salaries – check
  • Reduce number of government agencies by 30% in 2015

There are currently 28 Ontario Agencies;

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Government & Consumer Services
Environment & Climate Change
Citizenship & Immigration
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Attorney General
Natural Resources & Forestry
Children and Youth Services
Municipal Affairs
Health and Long-Term Care
Treasury Board Secretariat
Tourism, Culture and Sport
Natural Resources & Forestry
Community Safety and Correctional Services
Advanced Education and Skills Development
Northern Development and Mines
Research, Innovation and Science
International Trade
Children and Youth Services
Francophone Affairs
Community and Social Services

In 2010, I counted 26 of them. I’m sure there must be more, but merging them together doesn’t mean efficiencies were created, it just means fewer web-pages to have to update.

  • Introduce financial accountability officer – done
  • Give municipalities option of ranked ballots as an alternative to first-past-the-post in elections

After a review of the facts, this government has essentially lived up to their spending promises, however, there are 2 areas where I believe they failed miserably;

  1. Spending, and
  2. Taxation.

Increased spending where there is a balanced budget means the government takes in X amount of dollars in tax from Ontarians, and spends X amount of dollars.Unfortunately for all Ontarians, the government took in X amount of dollars from Ontarians, yet spent hundreds of billions of dollars more than they took in.

The effect of this spending means that Ontario has to borrow the money and has to pay interest on this borrowed money.

The amount Ontario has borrowed, or the deficit, currently stands at $325 billion dollars!

Imagine earning $100,000 per year, and borrowing $30 million dollars from the bank?  Then having to borrow more and more each year just to make the minimum payments on the interest to stay out of bankruptcy?  That debt will never be paid off unless you earn significantly more amounts of money, reduce all of your expenses, and if the lender agrees to reduce the interest.

If, however, the bank calls the loan, then you are bankrupt.

The same holds true for provinces.

The long-term effect of this irresponsible spending is that going forward for every X dollars the province brings in as tax dollars, there is an amount, let’s call it Y, which the government MUST pay in interest to the bank on the money they had to borrow. That means in order to balance a budget, they have to get even more money from Ontarians, which means even higher taxes, or they have to cut spending.

But if they cut spending, then they have to cut services, which is what they claim the Conservatives always do, so they don’t cut expenses or raise taxes, they do it in a much sneakier way so that you never know they are doing it.

One way this government has reduced spending and increased taxes, for example, is by getting rid of tax credits or deductions, such as the Child Tax Credit, or the Transit Credit. By not allowing these credits, the government no longer has accept less taxes from Ontarians and they win again because either these Ontarians will get back less taxes (because no deduction).

It’s brilliant.

It’s devious.

It’s immoral.

It’s like reducing the size of a jar but charging the same price. Consumers think they’re getting the same amount for their dollars, but in fact they are getting less and paying the same.

If the government told you back in 2014 that they would spend the province into bankruptcy and increase taxes by 3-4% on every Ontarian earning over $40,000/year while cutting credits and deductions, would you have voted for them?

Funny how that was never discussed…


Note: By moving the middle tax bracket, your $70,000 of income in 2014 put you in the 9.15% tax bracket, but in 2018, it puts you in the 12.16% tax bracket. That move increases taxes on the “middle class” without increasing the tax rate.  This was done while both the Liberal governments here in Ontario and Federally have been campaigning against the “rich and wealthy.”

These adjustments, along with the adding of levies, and user fees, and all those other words which mean tax, is just another way to prove that this government is underhanded and untrustworthy.

So instead of posting each parties platform and going through the pros and cons of each government, I decided to save everyone time and pull out what I feel really matters.

Liberals: More spending. Budget not balanced until 2024-2025.  Wave hands, and magically increase taxes on everyone over $50,000.

NDP: Even more spending.  Remove the power for governments to call an end to strikes. Debt and deficit to continue to grow.  Money to come from increasing taxes on the”rich” which we now know to be everyone over $40,000 per year.

Conservative: One or 2 years of deficit, then balanced budget and begin paying down the debt.  Plan to get more money into the governments pockets is not through increasing the tax rate, but by lowering taxes, gas, hydro, and letting Ontarians spend more money because 8% of that HST (consumption tax) belongs to Ontario.

Green: Increase spending for 2-3 years, no balanced budget for 3-4 years, and increased revenue to come from taxing the “rich” taxpayers and corporations.


Personally, if you ask, I’d rather tighten my belt buckle now and pay that bit extra in order to see the deficit reduced so that my children are not paying for this in the next 5-10 years.  Unfortunately, because the Liberals typically spend without consideration for where the money to pay for it will come from, it puts the next governing party in a bad light because they have to reduce waste, and cut where the Liberals didn’t want to.  It’s a great strategy to keep getting elected, but as a Taxpayer its annoying and unfair.

Good luck and get out there and vote!  It’s your democratic right!

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, hockey, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Children’s Organized Hockey is Broken!

There is something very wrong with the state of organized hockey in Canada, and to be honest, I’m not sure it can be fixed, or if those involved want it fixed.

House league, select, and upwards are run so very badly in many instances, by parents who put their interests above the best interests of the team and the players on the team, and in doing so, these parents do deceitful things; trying to hide better players to stack their team, break the rules to win games, force their kids to play when they don’t want to, or use their power to decide who plays even if that decision is not in the best interest of the team, the player or against the mandate of the league.

Everybody knows about it, but little is said and even less is done about it.  It’s the perfect toxic pool.  No wonder parents are becoming increasingly less enthusiastic about putting their kids in the sport.

As a current and former hockey coach, I have always abided by the rules passed down by the league because that is what the job requirements were when I signed up.  When the league asks the coaches to develop the players and give them equal ice time, then that is what we, as coaches are being asked to do.

I learned a long time ago, that as a team, you are only as good as your weakest player and I have always felt this way, and as a coach, assistant coach, or a kid who opens the door for the players to enter and leave the bench, it is so very important to be a positive influence on the kids – ALL the kids – on the bench and in the dressing room.

As a coach, a leader, and a role model, the responsibility to teach the kids about hockey is only a portion of the role.  Teaching the kids to be respectful on the ice and off the ice is another significant requirement of the job, as is communicating with the parents and the kids about strengths, weaknesses and issues.

Common sense also tells me that dressing rooms should be a safe place for kids to get ready for the games, to dress / undress into their uniforms and to have discussions about the game, the practice, or to learn about being good human beings.  It’s not the place to throw things at each other, play loud music and swear at each other.  When the parents come into the dressing room and see this, they feel the coach does not have control of the players, that they don’t respect the coach.

When there is chaos in the dressing room, there is chaos on the ice.  Kids can get hurt, physically and mentally, and that is not acceptable.

I was fortunate to have begun my coaching career in my early 20’s and after 3-seasons, I stopped, only to pick it up again in my late 20’s.

I started taking the Canadian Coaching Certification Program in hopes of one day coaching the Canadian Olympic team, but without having children, and then children who played hockey, my focus turned elsewhere.

Then my middle child turned 8-years-old and he decided that he wanted to learn to skate so he could play hockey and make it to the NHL.

I was reluctant, but it was what he wanted so we supported him, and started by taking him to skating lessons, and later that year he joined a Learn To Play league which was a blast.

The following year we joined House League hockey and I was shocked and amazed at what I saw.  I saw parents clearly pushing their kids to play when the kids clearly resented it and were not enjoying it.  I also saw parents yelling at their kids and screaming obscenities at the referees either because they are crazy or because they have clearly made a mistake by thinking that house league hockey was the NHL.

Then came some of the weirder things that I observed, like the number of times parents of very highly skilled parents would come up to me and tell me that they were in awe of my son’s size.  Yes, he’s tall, but not a giant, and while hockey has always mistakenly favoured tall players over smaller skilled players, that trend is thankfully moving away, and shouldn’t we, as parents support our kids no matter their skill, size, physique?

If the kids keep getting bigger and bigger, and hockey rinks are not, then pretty soon the game we love will become a glorified pinball game with nowhere to move and the puck bouncing from stick to stick.

As well, what is the point of wishing your child was bigger?  They cant change their height!  Don’t make them feel bad about your genetics!

Fast forward a couple of years and now my son is eager to try out for the “select” team.  I was really hesitant, not because I knew he wasn’t ready for it, but because of what might happen to him after he doesn’t make the team.  He, in his mind, felt he could play at that level, but as a new player, he is far from polished, so to the untrained eye, he was awkward, but he got where he needed to go, and did what he needed to do.

In hockey terms they would have referred to him as a “project”.

My son knew that he had a lot to learn, but he wanted to experience tryouts and see if he could make the team, and knowing that we took him.

Here is where I don’t understand hockey teams operate…  We heard there was room on the team, the coach said there was room on the team, and the coach offered to me that “no one was guaranteed a spot”.

In fact, in the dressing room before the tryout, the coach read the riot act to the parents and then told the kids that they had better be on the ice by the time the session began or they would lose their spots, and as the session started, 3 kids were still in the dressing room slowly getting ready.  The assistant coach came in and told them to get on the ice.

Now I knew for certain that the comment that “no one was guaranteed a spot was 100% not true.

Everyone on the team is guaranteed a spot.  They’re friends.  They have played together for years.  The only time a space opens up is when a kid moves up.

There was one spot on the team – but it was already filled by a friend of one of the players who he the coach had already seen play and given the thumbs up to.

As a result, at the tryout, the coach didn’t even look at my son.  He didn’t talk to him, and didn’t give him a chance.  He was cut within 5-minutes of the session ending.

I asked the coach, in all honesty, if he knew which kid he was cutting – how one spot was opening up – but he didn’t remember that part of the conversation, as he said that the team was the same team from last year and there were no spots.  He said that most teams keep all the kids, no matter what, and that it’s similar to a clique, so if we wanted to get him into select hockey we should have either got him in when he was 4-years-old, or started “networking” years ago.

Point taken.

The following year, now a year better, I knew to ask the coach if there were real spots available and if my son should even bother to try out.  Again, he said yes to both, and again, there were no spots and he was sent home – this time puzzled as to how this is fair?  If a defenseman is required to skate backwards and the team has a defenseman that cannot skate backwards, wouldn’t then even have a look at a defenseman that could skate backwards?  Apparently not.  Apparently it’s better to have all the same kids together because they’re friends, than to realistically look at all options.

After not being given what he deemed to have been a fair chance, he wanted to quit hockey.  He plays basketball, baseball, swims, and tried out for every sports team at school.  If hockey doesn’t want him, he doesn’t want hockey.

That thankfully lasted for one day.  The next morning he was in the basement, stick in hand, working on his shot.

He loves playing the game… He doesn’t watch hockey, but he loves playing it.

The following season we left that league and tried out for a different team which apparently had spots open, and he made that team.   What transpired after was confusing to say the least, but I should have taken notes, or written a book, because it started poorly, ended poorly, and had some ups an many downs in between.

After making the team, he was to be brought on as an “alternate” which was explained to me as a player who made the team and who would be developed and play, especially whenever there were players missing, but was a full part of the team who practiced with the team, and was part of the team.

It was explained to me that if he improved, he would go from playing potentially less, to potentially much, much more, because at worst he would still play, train and develop with the select team, and not play house league, and at best, he’s on a top line, playing power play and killing penalties.

Upon learning the term “alternate”, my son was very disappointed.  He felt he was better than that, but after some discussions with the coach and manager and after reading the communications to the rest of the team and their parents, it was understood that he would be a full part of this team – where most of the kids have played together for 5-6 years – and that the term “alternate” meant nothing in his development.

We did have additional discussions with the coach and manager about what an alternate meant and after being told “don’t worry, he’ll be fine”, I should have worried and had things in writing in case they came back later on.

Which it did…

Excited for him, he did extra hockey – trained with the incredible Creative Hockey Development program – and worked hard at every practice, he was respectful, and worked very hard on the ice.  The dressing room was absolute chaos and that caused him hesitation when it was time to come for practices and games, but he did his best.

Practices were… interesting.  For example in one of his early practices, one of the coaches tried to teach him a skill that he had never seen before, and he was trying to understand what the coach was doing, but the coach got frustrated and punched him (both fists into the front of my son’s shoulders).  I saw the entire incident and I knew that he was holding back tears.  I called the coach over and informed him that in the 3-years of hockey, my son had no idea what he was telling him, and he might want to break it down to the beginning for him.  The coach apologized to me, and to him and then took the time to go through it from the beginning.

I felt this was a defining moment… The coach wanted my son to get low to the ice while skating backwards, but as a tall kid who learned to skate and balance himself in a certain way, bending low to the ice was not something that he would be able to do right away with any chance of success – skating standing up might seem unusual, however his trainers said it was fine, he was fast, and there were plenty of NHL players who skate more upright.  It’s not a deal-breaker.

Didn’t it also figure that this coach was the coach who opened and closed the doors on the defence side for many of the games that season…

At games, I began to notice that even where the team was short players, the coaches would be playing my son very sparingly.  It didn’t matter if it was 0-0, or if they were winning 6-1, or losing 6-1, he would play 4-5 shifts and some games he would stand on the bench and not play a single shift.

During the games, my son would engage the coaches in the most respectful way – asking questions during the game and getting feedback – but he never raised a stink, or made a scene in front of the coach or his teammates.

This was the season for him.  Hard practices, then little or no game action. I would say that he was held off shifts more times than he actually was allowed to play.  So much for development.  But we didn’t say anything.

Then, as the season was nearing an end, I realized that tryouts for the next season were coming up and I had not heard anything negative from the coach or manager, I decided to ask the coach about next season, and was told this;

“I’m glad you came to speak to me.  I was actually going to speak to you about him.  He has not developed as much as I would have liked, and in the playoffs we can only carry 15 players, so your son won’t be playing.  Don’t dress him, or bring him to the game.  And as for next season, as it stands right now, I wouldn’t pick him to play on the team next season.”


So here are my thoughts at that moment;

My son is not the worst player on the team.  There are kids who are worse, however, they’ve played together for 5-6 years so with carpools in place, and as the kids have made friends, it’s much easier to cut the new kid, right?

Then I thought, how can a player develop if he’s not being played in games?

How do you know where a player has strengths, when he doesn’t get to play in games?

How do you know where a player is weak, when you don’t put him in every situation, let him fail, and then let him try again, and see if he fails, and then you can say he is weak at something.

Regarding those games, if he was put in a position where he failed over and over again, then yes, I can see that you see that he needs to work on certain things, but much like the select tryouts, if you don’t see what he can do, how do you know he can’t do it?

But something seemed off with the way that message was delivered to me, so I contacted the league to confirm the only fact that was presented to me which was that teams can only carry 15-players maximum (including goalies) and I found out that it was not true.  Teams are required to carry a minimum of 15-players of they will be fined.

That rule is intended to prevent coaches from shortening their benches and thus gaining an advantage over another team who plays all their players.

Now frustrated and confused as to why the coach would lie to my face, I wondered what else was going on with the team.

The parents all had similar situations with their kids – standing on the bench many games, and not being played on the power play or on penalty killing, ever.  Not one shift.  There were kids fighting in the dressing room, kids punching each other in the head before games, and a kid who always skated on the ice while the Zamboni was on until I stopped him, three practices in a row, before finally telling his mother.

My eyes were wide open!

In the dressing room, all season, I would help the goalie get dressed, tie the kids skates, continue giving them tips and suggestions, and I would be in the dressing room to break up fights, keep the kids safe and make sure chaos was turned into order.  I’m a parent.  Not a coach.

Normally, I let things go, but I could not let this go, so I spoke to the coach again… He was adamant it was a 15-player max.  He’s been doing this for a while, and he “spoke” to the league and confirmed.

Now into the playoffs, I hear the other kids on the team questioning my son’s commitment to the team – why wasn’t he coming to the games.  Apparently, my son was making excuses for not being able to attend the games, and not telling the truth.  I explained to him, and the coach explained to him that he was not to dress for the games, so he should just tell the kids that.

The coach was okay with that, and he told me that he spoke to the kids, as many of the kids had been in that position in previous years.

After not coming to any of the games, my son wanted to attend one of the games to cheer his team on.  The kids were confused that he was there but not playing – which made me think that maybe this conversation with the team never actually happened.  My son calmly explained to his teammates that he was told not to dress for the games, but he wanted to come support his team.  By this time he was told he could come watch, but not come in the dressing room, or be on the bench.

Parents commiserated with me, as this had happened to their kids in seasons before.  They would shrug their shoulders and give me that look.  The look that say; “I know it sucks, but if you speak up things will be worse.”

Apparently, my son’s appearance and the game for support, and his practice participation under these circumstances hit a chord somewhere, as he was asked to come to the next game to “support” his teammates.  We received an email that he was “welcomed into the dressing room to speak to his teammates and his presence was considered a positive.”

He did not want to go to be a cheerleader.  He wanted to play.

We declined the invitation.

Hours before the game, the team manager emailed me asking him to play, sort of; “[Your son] is welcomed to dress for the game, and hopefully he will even play!”

I was excited for him!  We took the high road, and did the right things and I thought that it was noticed, respected and he was getting an opportunity as a result.  When I approached him with this offer, he didn’t want to go!

I was shocked.  It turns out that he was nervous – he had not played a single minute of playoff hockey, and now suddenly they expected him to play.  In his mind, he was the player told not to dress for games, and now suddenly being asked to play was setting him up for failure.  If he didn’t play well, or made a mistake, he knew that would be benched, or not play at all as happened to him the entire season.

I convinced him it would a positive experience for him and with minutes to spare, we went to the game.  He played.  He actually played well for a kid who had not seen a second of playoff hockey, and he was paired with the team’s top defenseman, which was a really smart move just in case he just was not good enough (this would have been a great move from the start of the season if there were concerns).

Then suddenly as the 2nd period rolled along and as the team was winning 5-1, he stopped getting shifts.





He never left the bench again.

His team did win 6-5 thanks to a last-second goal, but the damage was done.  Instead of being happy at the opportunity, he was really upset.  He felt he could have stopped the opposition from scoring when it went from 5-1 to 5-5.  He felt that if his team mates who the coach likes much more than him couldn’t have stopped it, how did the coach know that he couldn’t?

He wanted the opportunity to prove to his coach that he could play.

If he failed, then he failed.  He knew in his heart that would succeed.

We chalked it up to him doing the right thing and it became very obvious that throughout the entire season the coach did not learn anything about him as a person, or as a player.

What made this situation worse was when the coach was overheard telling a parent that this game “meant nothing”.

In my son’s eyes, he felt that this was the reason he was played, not as a reward for doing the right thing, but because it was a meaningless game, which explained why the “back-up” goalie was played, and why some other kids who have stood on the bench all playoffs were getting shifts.

This was why they asked him to play…

Fast forward to the next playoff game, the semi-finals, and the team was short players.  I suspected he would need my son there, and the other 4 players on the team who have dressed for games however not played – some not even a shift.  These players stand on the bench in full uniform and watch the game, while 9 kids play the game.  This, of course, violates league rules because shortening the bench to this extent goes against the spirit of the game.

Personally, it made me wonder why those kids parents didn’t speak up, or how these kids were going to develop if they don’t play…

Back to the playoff game, I had not heard anything and I didn’t want a last minute situation ,so I reached out to the manager.

She emailed me back and told me that my son was welcome to come to the game, be in the dressing room and be on the bench to “keep stats” but that he was not going to play!  She indicated it was as a result of “roster management”.

I was confused, frustrated and now my frustration was turning to anger.

I pressed, and she was not willing to explain to me what was really going on, so she offered to have the coach call me.

After 25 minutes on the phone with the coach, I passed the phone to my wife, who spent another 45 minutes on the phone with him.

The coach admitted that he was calling up a player from the select team a year younger because he needed a player for that game.  The fact that my son was available and told not to play meant that calling up a player violated the rules of the league – let alone the organizations fair play rules.

He defended his interpretation of the rules regarding 15-players on the bench, and he agreed that by not playing our son throughout the season, he hampered his development.  He also said that he never told me there was no spot for our son next season and he said that our son was brought on to the team – very clearly – to share a spot with another defenseman, as an alternate!

When I questioned the need for this kid over my son, it was explained to me that it was purely based on the fact that my son is a defenseman and this boy is a forward.  When I reminded him  that halfway through the season he switched my son from defense to forward (explaining to me just weeks previously that “other kids complained that he was a liability”), he was at a loss for a response.  So he thanked me for my input, in that tone which says I don’t care how right you are, I’m the coach and doing whatever I want to, and he played that child and my son stayed home.

Again, I contacted the league and this time they quickly shut down that experience as apparently cheating is not allowed in it’s most blatant form.  The league, however, was very concerned to learn that kids were being benched, being told to stay home in the playoffs and being given less than equal playing time in the regular season.

Turns out no one complained… ever.

I suspected it might cause a problem, but in that conversation, the coach made it very clear to both of us that my son would not dress for the rest of the playoffs.

I Understood.  I do not agree, but I understood.

Contrary to what the league was telling us now, the coach would continue to play 2 forward lines and 4-5 defense for the playoffs no matter the situation which meant that the other kids on the team would dress but not play.  No matter the situation.

Did I mention this is only select hockey?

Low tiered select hockey, as well.

Could it get any worse?!?

Of course it could!

In the final game of the semi-finals, with a commanding lead in the series, and now I’m sure the coach and manager have had numerous conversations with the league, convenor and league president, I received an email from the team manager, which CC’d the coach, and it read; “You son is welcomed to dress for the game.”

I read that as dress and not play, but after all that has gone on, and all the conversations we’ve had, and that for almost the entire season I have said nothing, been as supporting as possible and understanding, but having been lied to, watched the team cheat, and come to the realization that they happily took my money, and sponsorship for the team, but did not develop my son at all, there is NO way that they would ask him to come to the game and not play, right?

So, we cancelled our programs for our other kids, moved around another appointment, and I took him to the game.  To be sure that he was ready, I took him to a skills training session before the game, and at this session, he was flying.  He was so confident and so happy.  Now he was ready to play and make a difference.

He got to the game on time, the coach always tells the kids they have to be at the game on time or they’re not going to play, and here we are, one hour before the game, and only 3 of the 15 players were there.

It’s been typical for the coach and manager to threaten the kids and not follow through with consequences, like the multiple times he threatened the kids about being on time for practice, then with a week before the end of the season, he made 4 kids sit out half a practice because they were fighting in the dressing room and missed the start of practice.

They were fighting because the coach got dressed, took his kid, and went to the ice early, leaving 12 kids in the dressing room on their own.  Some needed help with skates, goalies needed help with pads, and since the dressing room is typically chaotic, the kids fight with each other.

I was helping the goalies, but still I walked over a couple of times to tell the kids to stop fighting and get ready, but I needed to get the goalies on the ice, so I couldn’t be the only parent who cares that kids are fighting with each other, half dressed in the changerooms…

At the game, the coach was overly pleasant to me which felt very uncomfortable, however the team manager would not look me in the eye at all, and she kept walking by me giving me the stink-face.  I was not getting a good feeling at all.

The game started… and ended… and my son never left the bench.  Not one shift.  He just stood there, being supportive and a team player until he couldn’t.  He turned to me as the 3rd period was starting and he had tears in his eyes.

He was embarrassed.

He was hurt.

He didn’t deserve that.

The coach broke him.

The manager broke him.

I felt so bad for him.  Horrible.  I shouldn’t have brought him to the game.  I should have known they were going to do this to get back and us for calling out their cheating to the league.

Typically, after games, parents are not allowed in the dressing room so that the coaches can re-cap the game, but I couldn’t let him be in there, so upset and so hurt, while the coach talked about how great everything was, so I walked into the change room, asked him to get dressed so we could leave.

“Don’t do this now”, the coach said to me.

“Why?” I replied?  “It is because you don’t want me causing a scene in front of the team?  You lied to me.  You made my son cry.  You asked him to come to the game and you couldn’t play him for one single shift.  You embarrassed him.  You hurt him.  You lied to me and you lied to him.”

“He was supposed to play” was the coaches response.

“You are the coach.  you decide who plays.  You chose not to play him.  You made him come here.  He missed school, we cancelled events, and my other kids missed programs because you asked him here to play, and you let him sit on the bench.  Shame on you!”

At this point in time, an assistant coach told me to cool down.  I was not yelling, I was not screaming, but I was certainly not happy, and I don’t do public drama.  I’m a behind the scenes have a conversation in quiet kind of guy, but this coach lied to me, and was doing it again.

Then from behind, I finally here the manager speaking to me, as she said; “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

I turned to her, looked her right in the eyes and said; “I’m not leaving without my son.  Your coach couldn’t play him for one shift.  You couldn’t even look me in the eyes before and during the game.  You knew this was doing to happen and you allowed it.  You could have just asked him to stay home.  That is so cruel.”

She left the dressing room.

It was time to parent.  I was not leaving without my son.  He was SO hurt.  So embarrassed.  They screwed with him all season and were doing it again in the playoffs.  They don’t care about these kids, about the team, or about teaching kids to be kind, respectful people.  They only care about winning.  They played 10 kids the entire play-offs.  They had 5 kids stand on the bench so the team wouldn’t get fined, and they told another kid to say home, so they could call up a better player.

What message does that send to the kids?  To the parents?

If you’re good, we’ll play you.  If you’re not, you’re not going to play and don’t say anything or you’ll be benched.

So much for development.

I’m all for doing what’s best for the team, but my line crosses at cheating the system and cheating the kids, and all these lies!

Now for those of you who think I over-reacted, I will tell you this… I have never done that before and likely never will.  It’s not in my character.  When part of a team, we do what the team wants, but when the coach started violating the rules, and referred to kids as “horrible” then I have problems.  If it wasn’t my kid, I would still be as upset as I was last night.

In fact, it wasn’t just my kid.  It was my kid told to stay home, but 4 other kids who stood on the bench, never played, and their parents thought it was okay.

The league said it was not okay.

As a coach, we have to complete the “Respect in Sports” course and as a coach we have to comply with the rules of the organization we coach in.  Just because no other parent has spoken up doesn’t mean it’s okay to do what he has done.  The coaches job is to develop the players.  If the coach felt that there were 5 kids who were not progressing as he would have liked, he should have spoken up earlier and not waited until the parents came to him.

Some people coach to teach and support kids.

Some people coach so their kid won’t get cut.

This was the latter, for sure.

While on the phone, the coach told me, and told my wife a story about how his oldest son was on select but played “way less than your kid” and after 4-years was cut from the team.  That story told me that he was doing whatever it took to keep his kid from being cut from the team even though his kid was not one of the top players, he made his kid the first-line centre, and the captain.  His focus was not on the development of other players or on team play, but one his own interests only.

A prime example occurred when at a practice a player was clipped from behind and hit his head on the ice very hard and apparently some of the kids, including the coaches son laughed at the boys and accused him of faking it.  As the player was waiting for his parents to get him, the coach and his son were leaving the arena when the coach made his son apologize.  The boy apologized with a massive smile on his face, and when the injured player refused to accept the apology, the boy broke out in laughter and said to his dad – the coach – “HA!  See I told you it was a waste of time!”

Then they left the arena.

The injured boy and a bunch of other kids were still there – thankfully I was there – because someone had to explain to this boys parents what happened in case there were concussion issues or worse.

If that were my kid, I would want to know.  Wouldn’t you?

As the finals began, the convenor of the league contacted us and said that if our son wanted to come play, he “guaranteed” that he would play… A lot.

We never received a note from the coach or the manager.  They never reached out to apologize for what happened at the game, to at least have an opportunity to explain that it was not intentional but they did not.  They never asked him to come to the games.  He would  not go without being asked.  That was what the coach told him before the playoffs.  If he were needed / wanted, they would let him know.

He didn’t go.

The team won.

In the final game, one of the kids who barely played in the playoffs was given a regular shift and was the player of the game.  I’m sure the coach was shocked because in his eyes, certain players just don’t have it – how he would know this without playing the kids is a mystery to me.

Then nothing.

No trophy.

No “Champs” hat, that everyone else got.


The convenor wanted to sweep this under the rug, and did.

Then we received an email from the manager offering us $500 back off our league fee because they had to.  They told the league that our son was an alternate, and that they could not play him, however, they charged him the full fee, he came to every game he could attend – there was no question that he was a regular member of the team – and the overriding league did not have him listed as an alternate, but as a regular member of the team.  But they figured they could get away with telling him to stay home, pulling in the alternate card, and get away with it, because they have before.

That offer did not come with an apology.

We accepted it and let them know that without an apology it is meaningless, however we were going to donate that money to a charity for kids who want to play hockey but cannot afford it.  2 days later that money was donated.

I think the coach, manager, and convenor think this is over, and that a refund is enough to stop this duo from mistreating the players who they are volunteering to develop, train, and lead.

It’s not over.

We are clearly not going back to that team, that coach and that manager next season.  The team had a skills coach / assistant coach assigned to them, and upon learning of the situation, he was fired.

I can’t let it go because of the 5 kids on that team who never play, are never developed and who the team happily accepts their money but won’t put any effort into their development.

And for the other kid who stood on the bench all playoffs but his family quietly removed him from the team in the semi-finals because their son was upset – the coach called him horrible.  The assistant coach called him a “fucking pussy”.

And because just hours before calling my son to play and not playing him a single shift, the coach was on the phone with that family, telling them that he was wrong to have not developed their son, and it was wrong for him to have made him stand on the bench for 5 games without playing him a shift…

Then he does it to another kid.

He lies.

The team lies.

The league swept it under the rug.

It’s not about the money.  It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about doing what’s right, and when you take on the role of a coach, that you do what is asked of you, and treating all the kids equally, with respect.

This team is broken.

The way the team is run is broken.

The league is broken.

So what is wrong with hockey?  A lot!

Teams being carried year over year.  Coaches with bad intentions.  Coaches who cheat.  Coaches who lie. Leagues that don’t care. Organizations that don’t care.  All of this is clouded with the unwritten rule that you don’t speak out or the coach will bench your kid or cut him from the team.

It’s a game.  A sport.  It should be fun, and everyone should get the opportunity to learn and develop.  We pay money to have volunteer coaches help our kids learn to play this game better on their own and within a team environment.

So where do I get my opinions on hockey from?

As I mentioned, I have coached hockey for 6-years, and coached a ball hockey team for 25-years.  One year coaching house league hockey we made the finals against the team that had the convenors son on it.  They had 5 select players and we had 2 and of our two, one had a really poor attitude and the other couldn’t skate.  He was one of the weakest players on the team – but had a new player who could not skate.  This boy was a delight in the dressing room, but he and his parents knew that he might have been the weakest player in the league.

League rules required that we rolled the lines every shift as required, so we gave him a role, had players on his line to support him, and did the best we could to get the most out of him.

In the finals, with the game nearing an end and the score 0-0, this boy’s father came to ask me if he wanted me to take his son from the game so we could play someone stronger for our last shift – he would tell the convenor that his son was sick, or hurt.

“Absolutely not!”, I said.  “You win as a team and you lose as a team.”

So on this last shift, as the play was leaving the oppositions end, and as our weakest play was trying so hard to get into the play, the puck was turned over, and suddenly, this player is at their blue line with the puck, and the other 9-players on the ice are at our blue line.

Needless to say, on the breakaway our player was so scared that they would catch him that he fanned on his shot – caught the puck with the heel of his stick – which surprised the goalie and the puck trickled between the goalies legs and into the net.

Game over.

1-0 win.

In tears, the father said to me that this was his son’s greatest moment in his life, and he was going to give up hockey because he knew he wasn’t good at it, and he would never be able to top that moment.

I told the father to keep his son skating and get him ready for next year.

Everybody deserves the chance to be a hero.

Everybody deserves to be a part of the team, no matter how good, or bad, or who their parent may or may not be.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the first game or last game, the first minute or the last minute.

If this was my son’s select coach, that boy would not have come to the game or would not have played, and we might have lost the game.

Where ever that boy is now in his life, some 20-years later, he can always draw on that experience of fairness to help him in similar situations.

I can’t say that lesson was taught to any of the kids on this year’s team.

And that I have a problem with!



We returned to our old league, signed up for house-league, and attended the select tryouts, and after 2 very strong tryouts, he made the team!

At the parent’s meeting, the coach and manager preached development, and that every child will grow, develop, learn and be challenged and that it is the teams job and the coaches job to ensure that the season is a positive one for each and every player.

What a difference!

As a result, my son is still doing the drop-in skills sessions at Creative Hockey Development, and he’s getting better each and every time he’s on the ice.

Seeing his rapid improvement it makes me question what last season would have looked like if the coach just gave him a chance…

Oh well.

I’m still waiting to hear back from that league… Not holding my breath!


Posted in Community, Daddy, family, Food, health, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy

Our Morning Smoothie: Simple, Healthy, Delicious.

Last month, the kind folks at Almond Breeze reached out to me and said this;

“Hey Urban Daddy!  Are you familiar with Almond Breeze?”

I replied with this; “Familiar???  Absolutely!  In fact, my oldest son and I have a smoothie for breakfast EVERY morning, and instead of using milk, we use unsweetened Almond milk from Almond Breeze!”

“No way”, was what I got back.  “Would you share the recipe for your audience, and we’ll send you some Almond Breeze.”

“Ummm, yeah!  Of course!”

So because we received chocolate almond milk, vanilla almond milk, regular almond milk and unsweetened almond milk, this constitutes a paid post, or compensated post, and as such I must (and I am) declaring it to be so.

The cool part, is that its already something we use, and enjoy, and have been using for years since we cut back on our milk.

Here is our breakfast every single morning;

Into the blender goes the following ingredients:

2 cups Almond Milk, from Almond Breeze.  I like the unsweetened, my son likes the sweetened ones, and before we got to make our first smoothie, he had polished off the chocolate Almond Milk, and by the end of the week, the Vanilla was gone too.  It’s high in protein which helps him as he swims competitively and needs to keep all that muscle on…

I digress… Back to the blender.

1 large banana

a handful of ice cubes

a table spoon of peanut butter

and that’s it!  Blend it on the smoothie setting, and drink and enjoy.

Sometimes, we add, protein powder for him, and a huge handful of spinach for me.  Sometimes I’ll pour in some left over coffee, add a touch of honey and some fibre, but the main ingredients remain the same and it is SO yummy, and fills me until noon.


So here are the facts about Almond Breeze which I did not know – so likely you did not know either…

  1. Almond Breeze is like a family themselves as they are owned by the Blue Diamond Growers who have been in the almond business for more than 100 years.
  2. Almond Breeze is one of the only brands to grow their own almonds

So let’s think about this for a second from the context of parenting and being a family.  Our family doesn’t have a family business which is passed on from generation to generation where the newer generation learns from the older generation and does that work with pride in order to keep up the quality and the respect the family name has earned.  There is a lot of pride, but also a lot of pressure!

It also surprised me – but makes a lot of sense – that this is the only almond milk producer who makes their own almonds.  I’m sure it’s a technical process and finding the right almond for the milk must be difficult as it has to be tasty, not spoil quickly and must be in an area where it leaves the smallest carbon footprint to make the product in order to keep the price reasonable.

It makes me feel comfortable knowing that the almonds are coming from a place where the growers actually care about the product because it’s not just the brand which is on the shelves, but it’s also the growers and their families.