A hockey moment this crowd won’t soon forget by Charlotte Helston at Infotel Multimedia on 21 February 2014.

Peewee player stands alone by Andrea Johnson and Ted Clarke at The Prince George Citizen on 20 February 2014

There are many times that I’m proud to be Canadian; this is not one of them.  I normally try to focus on articles about positive leadership, but in this case I will focus on a negative (with one positive aspect).

We have just been given many examples of Canadian courage, determination, and sportsmanship in  the form of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.  I love hockey, and both our women’s and men’s hockey team have given us much to be proud of.  At the same time halfway around the world in Vernon, British Columbia, poor sportsmanship and poor leadership reared its ugly head.

Leadership failure #1 – Based on the report, it seems that one team stormed off the ice after losing due to a disputed goal – without the customary shaking of hands.  The coach is responsible for showing leadership and being an example – this was not done here.

Leadership failure #2 – The coach insisted that all children come off the ice with him, including the one child who decided to stay and shake hands.  Through that player (in addition to tradition) the coach was provided a visual reminder of what the proper action should have been, and did not correct his own actions.  His actions also forced the (re)action of their hockey players to get off the ice.  Without the negative coaching / leadership influence, it would have been interesting to see how many children would have stayed out to shake hands.

Leadership failure #3 – Even if all but one child did not dare take action contrary to the desire of the coach, there were assistant coaches present.  This means that either all coaches displayed poor leadership, or that they did not step up to hold the head coach accountable to behaving in a sportsmanlike manner.

Leadership success #1 – For me, the true leader in this situation was a 12-year-old boy, Matthew Marotta, for behaving in a manner consistent with the fundamental ethics and values of hockey, and for showing everyone what sportsmanship looks like.  He may not have liked the game’s final outcome, but what he did took courage.  He has given the nation something to think about.  He may not have been able to get others to join him on the ice that day, but through his actions he has provided perspective to a hockey-mad nation.

Matthew – you have demonstrated your leadership potential – I wish you much future success.

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