Forty-eight hours after the most controversial play in the Herder Memorial’s 80-plus years, Hockey N.L. President Jack Lee was available to answer to the Country’s criticism.
The Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars won the 2017 Herder Memorial Championship on a goal that entered the net illegally. The Clarenville Caribou’s appealed the game’s outcome, but today, Hockey N.L. said there is nothing that can be done.
“There’s no question in anybody’s mind that the puck went in under the net,” admitted Lee. “Unfortunately it’s a call on the ice and we can’t overturn that call.”
The video that surfaced through NTV after the game went viral. It was picked up by national sport networks and gainied attention of NHL players on twitter.
Through social media’s legs, criticism poured in, with many questioning why there wasn’t a goal judge hired to overlook the goal area.
“We have always had goal judges,” claimed Lee. “But this year in the pre-Herder meeting, with both teams, they agreed that to have local goal judges, untrained, there was just not a need. We didn’t force the issue.”
It’s an issue that will be forced, however, going forward.
“I bet you 100 per cent going forward there will be goal judges. After the fact now, I can see the purpose of goal judges,” said Hockey N.L.’s president. “Maybe we need to train people to do that job so then we won’t have people doing it from the local areas who could be perceived as biased.”
The two trained goal judges in this case, the referees, undeniably missed the call. Hockey N.L. admits that. But today their president defended their stripes.
“Everybody makes mistakes, we’re human beings,” said Lee. “Looking back, would those officials want to make that call? Sure they wouldn’t. They have a second to make a call on what they see. We don’t have video review, maybe that’s something we have to look into.”
Lee says there will be no discipline for the referees who made the call.
“Every game in every sport is won on mistakes,” said Lee. “Now unfortunately this mistake was a big mistake and a championship was awarded because of this mistake.”
When asked if the 2017 Herder Memorial Championship, in his mind, comes baring an asterisk, Jack Lee says no.
“In this case it’s not the CeeBee’s organization’s fault. It’s not the Clarenville Caribous’ fault,” said Lee. “Although on a human error, they were awarded a championship, after playing five hard games of hockey. So say what you want about an asterisk. Unfortunately this is how the CeeBee’s won a championship. Now we move on.”