Chris St-Pierre

For The Community Press

KAPUSKASING – Last week, Kapuskasing Flyers GM Darren Potvin publicly stated in The Community Press his obvious displeasure and disgust with the NOHA and GNML for repelling an appeal regarding suspensions to Kobe Barrette and Samuel Vachon.

Both players were given suspensions following an altercation during February 2nd’s matchup between the Flyers and the North Bay Major Midget Trappers, during which a pair of fights broke out in the second period. Barrette was served two-games while Vachon got five.

In response to said article, the Flyers organization has suspended Potvin indefinitely pending an internal investigation. He will be stripped of his responsibilities as general manager and governor duties. Assistant GM Rémi Desbiens will be taking over his superior’s duties as general manager for the remainder of the season. The team’s board will be meeting in the near future to discuss and review the situation. A date has yet to be set since management, coaching staff and players will be focusing on the playoffs.

Flyers President Brian Boulianne will recommend to the board that he take Potvin’s place as team governor in order to represent them on higher levels. The Great North Midget League, the Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Kapuskasing Minor Hockey Association have all been advised of the organization’s decision and may hand out subsequent suspensions if deemed necessary.

Darren Potvin issued a public apology when the organization got word of his comments. In a statement sent to The Community Press, he stated “in the Feb 14th edition of The Community Press in Kapuskasing, I made irresponsible and inappropriate comments about two organizations I have worked with for the past 12 seasons. For those who know me, you know that I live and die for hockey and the growing of our game. The comments I made about the NOHA and GNML were made out of frustration and should have never been said, not publicly, not personally. I have nothing but the outmost respect for both organizations and that is why I continue to work with both of them year in and year out.”

He went on to extend his apologies to the league, the association and the Flyers organization. Potvin explains that “the comments I made in the Community Press not only reflect bad on myself but also on the organization that I enjoy working for. I am truly sorry to all those who have worked for the Flyers organization over my time and even way before me. I misrepresented the Flyers organization in the comments made and I never worked a day in this job to hurt or tarnish the image of the team I hold so close to my heart.”

GNML commissioner, and Potvin’s successor to the position after relinquishing it last season, Albert Corradini answered The Community Press’ request for a comment regarding the suspensions. He states that while he was not in attendance, the description of the events tells the story.

According to Corradini, fighting has no place anywhere in the sport of hockey, let alone minor hockey. The decision to suspend the players on both Kapuskasing and North Bay was not made arbitrarily by the governing body that oversees hockey in northern Ontario and it was not made by the GNML. The decision to penalize the players as a result of their actions was made by the officials who were on the ice and who’s job it is to protect the integrity and the rules of the game and above all to protect the safety of the participants.

He continues that he would’ve been more concerned had he been asked to comment on the decision not to suspend players who fought during a minor hockey game as it would be far more disgusting. He can’t speak for the NOHA, but Corradini trusts that the on-ice officials penalized these players appropriately. They are only human and they certainly make mistakes, but collectively he believes they must have agreed on what took place in order to give out the appropriate punishments.