I have heard that some players have been speaking about starting a petition to have Pete Belliveau removed as head coach. Apparently the referee thumping bench boss is using tactics that were popular in the 1940s that don't cut it in 2005, even with University players.
Looks like the Lakehead players are taking a page out of the Canisius players' book. Longtime Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh was canned in late Nov/early Dec. due to some "irreconcilable differences" with his players.
This is not a new problem. Last year there was a little grumbling. It has become a dull roar. The players looked lifeless against UQTR two weeks ago. I believe the game Friday night is going to be televised, which the team hoped would be an aid for recruitment. Tom Warden, Athletic Director may have to make a change to keep this year from getting wasted. There is a very suitable replacement quite available right here in Thuinder Bay with International coaching experience: http://www.bihwa.co.uk/hall_of_fame/dampier.htm
Ok, this is out of hand now. Another loss last night, making 7 in a row. Before this started the team was ranked 3rd in the National poll and now they are 3rd in the division behind Western and Waterloo.
It appears that Chris Shaffer, one of the team leaders, has quit the team. The team released a statement through Jim Johnson (Greg and Ryan's dad who is President of the team) to try and keep things a little quieter, they are saying it is a leave of absence and that he is concerned about graduating this year and he has been offered a part time role.
Any time you have a coach who constantly wants to improve his team by upgrading player-wise you will have some dissention.
This is what is happening at Lakehead.
The Thunderwolves though largely ignored in the mainstream hockey circles, have almost been a phenomen at the CIS-level.
Their business model (much like Laval football) is scaring the crap out of several of the bean counter Athletic Directors in the CIS-especially the ones in Ontario who are cash-strapped and not really about excellence...more about participation!
In just their second year of existence Lakehead made it to the Nationals with primarily Junior "A" players and a sprinkling of guys from Major Junior.
At the University Cup Lakehead fought gamely but was outgunned by teams (UQTR, UNB) loaded with Major Junior players.
Belliveau knew he had to get more grads of the OHL to take his program to the next level.
He brings these guys and in the process alienates some of the Tier Two-grads who just happen to be locals.
Factor in that Lakehead losed their top five games to the FISU games for four weekends, and the team struggles, allowing the vultures to circle.
Once Lakehead's key guys get back from the World University Games, I would fully expect them to return to being a top six ranked team in the CIS and in a dog fight with Western and UQTR to grab one of two spots for the TELUS University Cup in Edmonton in March.
Belliveau told one of out major Junior grads he is a disgrace and should quit playing hockey last year. Another of our major junior grads has said the guy is an absolute nut. Belliveau. Shaffer quitting will be a big blow to team morale if that is indeed what the situation is.