Crocker returns fire

Kenn Oliver
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‘Loyalty wasn’t served,’ he says, a day after being dismissed as CeeBees’ head coach

Cory Crocker is shown behind the bench of the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars durin a Newfoundland Senior Hockey League game against the Clarenville Caribous in October of last year in Clarenville. Crocker was dismissed as the CeeBees’ head coach on Monday, less than a week before the team was to begin a playoff series against the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts. — Telegram file photo/Kenn Oliver

A day after being relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars, Cory Crocker says he was “done dirty” by the organization.

“We were always taught growing up that there’s a lot of loyalty in hockey, but loyalty wasn’t served yesterday,” Crocker said from Amherst, N.S., where he is the town’s physical activity coordinator.

Crocker says he was contacted Monday morning by executive members Ralph Earle and Marty Gregory,  who informed him his services would no longer be required.  He says he was told by  Earl and Gregory  the reason for his dismissal was the team’s 7-15-1 record this season, a record that included losing streaks of a five and 10 games.

“At the time, I asked who made the decision and they basically told me not all the executive members were contacted because (some) are close to me or my friend.”

Crocker, who calls that “a lame excuse,” would not specify which members of the executive Earle and Gregory were referring to.

Neither Earle or Gregory could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The Telegram was able to learn the team’s executive also includes, but is not limited to, Paul Kennedy, Doug Moores, Joey George, Bob Craig, Derrick Edwards, Tracey Shute and assistant coaches, Peter George and Ian Moores, the latter a life-long friend of Crocker’s having come up through the CeeBees minor hockey system together.

There has been no formal announcement on whether Peter George and/or Ian Moores will be coaching the team in the upcoming playoffs.

Crocker’s firing comes on the heels of the team clinching fourth place and just days before a Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) semifinal series with the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts.

“No one likes losing, and someone has to take the fall for it, but the timing is very, very bad,” Crocker says.

CeeBees captain Keith Delaney, who found out about the decision to axe Crocker via email Monday morning, says losing a coach feels the same as losing a teammate.

“You want everyone who is committed at the start of the year to see it through and for the team to have success, and when everybody’s not there in the end, it’s disappointing,” he said.

“There’s so much going on right now and so many mixed emotions with being on a high, having such a good last couple of games heading into the playoffs. Then all of a sudden your coach is told he’s longer in wanted because the executive made a decision on the future of the hockey team.”

But Delaney says with all the distractions and adversity the team has faced this season and recent sacrifices on the part of the players — including an unpaid road trip to Deer Lake for a two-game set with the Western Royals — that Crocker’s firing can’t get in the way of what has to happen on the ice.

“It’s unfortunate Cory’s not going to be part of it, and that this (is a ) side of sport. But as a team that has loyal fans who want us to succeed and with everyone making sacrifices, we can’t lose sight of what we set out to do,” Delaney explains.

‘Proper executive’ needed, says Crocker

Crocker, a native of Harbour Grace, says he’ll never turn his back on the CeeBees or his hometown. Still, being fired by the team he grew up hearing stories  about, and a team he helped to find its way back to the Herder Memorial Trophy finals for the first time in over 30 years in 2005 as a play-making centreman, has left a sour taste in his mouth.

“I’m bitter about the whole situation because of my pride for the CeeBees organization.”

And organization, he says, which needs to undergo some significant changes at the executive level if it has any hope of a future in the high-priced and ultra-competitive NLSHL.

“If people from the C.B.N. region do not come together and form a proper executive where you have a president, take minutes at a meeting, pass motions, have proper fundraising and sponsorship and everything is transparent, there will not be a team in C.B.N. ... bottom line.

“To build a winning team, and a winning atmosphere, you don’t push good people away.”


Organizations: Newfoundland Senior Hockey, CeeBees organization

Geographic location: Deer Lake

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Recent comments

  • Daddy's boy
    February 18, 2013 - 06:37

    The only person on this executive that has any clue about hockey is Ian moores, the rest wouldn't run a pee wee tournament. What a joke!

    • Former Ceebee
      February 18, 2013 - 12:16

      Ian is the sole reason why most of us left. Crocker has forgotten more than he knows.

  • darren
    February 14, 2013 - 12:27

    Oh how the mighty have fallen! This is a great league folks, just go to Clarenville, Grand Falls, Gander and Deer Lake and you will see a team and league embraced by everyone, win or lose. Unfortunately the Cee Bees didn't get the memo. If you are losing, suck it up and move on. Frankly if the Faulkners didn't leave Bishop's Falls to join them in the 60's, they would have been nothing more than a good rec team.

  • SS Kyle
    February 13, 2013 - 13:36

    The only reason he was let go is to save money.... The team is up to there neck in debt and by cutting Crocker they save on one last weekend of flying the guy in from NS..... They have 4 games left and the little money they make from the playoffs will help offset there debt..... Some players haven't been payed for the last couple of weeks due to lack of funds lol...... The Leauge is a joke.... Best of luck to the Cee Bees with your executive...... No sympathy to all the idiots who invested money in this team...... Spend it on cancer research or something worth while..... Maybe pave the roads in Hr Grace who cares

  • hockeyfan
    February 13, 2013 - 12:53

    Off topic here, but why are the players being paid? Players should be playing for these teams because they have pride in their town not to make a buck. Players normally only get paid in pro hockey leagues, this is not pro hockey.

    • echonawmics
      February 13, 2013 - 15:11

      Let me try to explain HOCKEYFAN. Very few of these players are playing for their town. This hockey league would not exist if players were not getting paid. There is a over 19 league in Bay Roberts and an AESHL for people who play for pride of their community and love of the game. People are willing to pay for the product the NLSHL provides. That is why players get paid. Businesses choose to sponsor the teams and view them as good for the community. Travel costs are high, as well as the cost to fly in locals and imports. That is why it is important for teams to practice good financial planning. Average Attendances: 1200 fans Gander 1100 fans Clarenville 800 fans Grand Falls 650 fans Cee Bees - only because they are losing I assume Deerlake is between 600 and 1000 It might be hard for you to understand and you are right in the fact that these players are certainly not professionals but I don't see anything wrong with the players getting a few dollars. A lot of them probably need it after the whole hockey thing didn't work out for them. lol

  • Donny
    February 13, 2013 - 11:47

    Who cares about this garbage hockey??? People who think this is a semi pro league should be on a shuttle!!! Ralph Earle should stick to selling chicken..... Not trying to run a hockey team!!! Get some people with a little bit of hockey experience in the front office.... Not a bunch of business men who don't know piss from paint

  • joe
    February 13, 2013 - 10:45

    Be a professional accept that it didnt work out and move on.

  • don't support this kind of garbage
    February 13, 2013 - 10:09

    GARBAGE HOCKEY, its a mickey mouse league anyways.

  • Robert
    February 13, 2013 - 09:09

    He only flew back and forth games days? What about practices and building games plans, working closely with your team etc... I'm sure Corey is a great coach and has bleed for the Ceebees in the past, but I have to say you cannot coach a team this way and think you are going to be successful. Hopefully you can get a gig in Amherst.. Best of luck...

  • Buddy l'uh
    February 13, 2013 - 08:43

    Who cares????? This league is a farce that nobody outside the towns these teams play in no longer care about. Teams folding as a result of GREED within in the system. Soon we will no longer have to hear about these stories as the league will once again collapse. The day can't come soon enough.

  • Ray Bowe
    February 13, 2013 - 08:28

    A sponsor donated air miles for Corey to get to and from games. Cost the team nothing. This was a buddy screwing another buddy to get the glory.

  • Whaddaya At
    February 13, 2013 - 08:23

    Crocker says he was ' done dirty ' ????. He coached a team that lost 10 games straight and 5 games straight and he didn't think it was time for a change ?. Duh ?. If anything, the Executive should have stepped in earlier to stop the race to the bottom. No need for Crocker to take it personally by asking for the names of people on the executive whe voted to give him the heave. That's irrelevant.

  • W Bagg
    February 13, 2013 - 08:16

    probably to save money on his travels from NS to NL every weekend...........

    • E. O'Brien
      February 13, 2013 - 11:19

      He's had a gig in Amherst, put the team that far in debt he called Harry Summers to tow him out.

    February 13, 2013 - 08:15

    # of those 7 wins were accomplished when he was'nt with the team, including their last 2 wins, could be bad timing but the team plays better without him, maybe if he has a passion for the team like he said he could have realized this fact and stepped down as coach and helped out in some other capacity. Its a bad situation for all involved, hopefully the team rises above it.

  • C. Hodge
    February 13, 2013 - 08:11

    Mt. Pearl should take a page out of this book and replace its executive as well. You need hockey minds, people that know how to run a hockey team. Not someone with deep pockets, or fundraisers which is what makes up the exec in Mt. Pearl. Businessman from the community, not guys that can sell 50-50's or golf tickets. This league is a business, treat it that way. Mt. Pearl is trying to get a team to return, to what - an empty Glacier. They've stated they will have stuff in place, and great ideas. Share them. Players didn't show up to practice this year because of who was at the top, why would they return this year. Especially with the new coach they hired, very disliked by anybody thats ever played for him. In CBN, you have the Moores, and I read a comment that somebody had made on a previous story regarding this debacle out there, the Moores do want to have all the spotlight. If Ian spent as much time caring for the team as he does in the mirror, they'd be allright. Its no secret in CBN that at days end the Moores make the final call. A gutless approach if there ever was one to have other executive members contact him. Hang your head high Crocker, you couldn't score for the team, they didn't listen to you, and unfortunately someone has to take the fall. Right before the playoffs wasn't the way for this to be done, but life goes on. Two franchises gone by next season.

    • Blade
      February 13, 2013 - 14:23

      In response to C. Hodge The new coach hired by Mount Pearl was the best coach I ever played for. Knowing he is back makes me want to get back in shape and play Sr. Hockey again

    • Former Blade
      February 13, 2013 - 19:43

      As a former blade I can say without remorse that 3 players at most will be back from last years team if Hare and Bartlett are involved. The players referred to them as the muppets. Less if the new coach is who they say it is. Get in shape, go in the draft and see if anyone takes you. Sad there will only be 4 teams next year.

  • darren
    February 13, 2013 - 07:37

    No loss, can't do any worse, move on.

  • darls
    February 13, 2013 - 06:35

    7 wins...15 losses and he wonders why he was let go....SERIOUSLY....must be a mainlander...cheers

    • Terry Kavanagh
      February 15, 2013 - 20:46

      Amazing comments for Senior Hockey

    • Terry Kavanagh
      February 15, 2013 - 20:50

      Amazing comments for Senior Hockey