It’s been tough times for the Cougars. That is up until last weekend when they took it to the Kootenay Ice allowing them to leave the building only after being beaten twice in as many nights.
Unfortunately for 17-year-old Cougar defenceman Gary Gladue he wasn’t there to enjoy the victory and bask in the glow that radiated off a team that has been struggling during a horrendous January schedule.
Gary Gladue made the call to the Cougar management Friday night. He called to tell them that he would not be coming to the rink anymore. With the pressure on everyone to do well it really isn’t surprising that communications might break down, that things get heated, that people just can’t take any more flack.
General Manager Daryl Lubiniecki says, “There is no question that there is pressure put on these kids.
“The amount of teenagers that we go through we don’t have very many problems and the thing is I don’t even know what the problem is. I really don’t and nobody does. There hasn’t been a specific incident come up,” says Lubiniecki.
Gary’s uncle, Constable Dean Gladue, has done most of the talking on his behalf. According to Dean this is a carry over from last year when assistant GM Dallas Thompson was behind the bench as assistant coach. Apparently there were problems then and there are still problems now.
“When someone is down you don’t keep kicking them. When someone is hurting you don’t keep kicking them. When a kid is down you build them up. When a kid knows he’s giving up the puck in front of the net you don’t kick him, you try to fix it so it doesn’t happen again,” says Dean Gladue.
It seems as if Gary didn’t know who to turn to and tried to keep it to himself.
“We have a head shrink come in and talk to the kids all the time, there is that opportunity Max Offenberger he’s from Boston he works with NHL teams. He is a available, he comes in all the time. I never questioned whether he talked to him but obviously he didn’t,” says Lubiniecki.
“He is very loyal to his team he always wanted to keep the ship going to be seen as a team player and to be seen as a team player you want to keep it internally, in house and I think with Gary he tried his utmost to do that,” says Dean Gladue.
“Kids they learn to clam up and when everything breaks loose then they see the support that would have been with him. I think its the fear factor as well.”
“Gary situation is such that here is a kid who went from a having a love of the game to just dying. He shut down. He could not go on anymore. He could not hide it anymore, physically he couldn’t hide it.
He is a sensitive kid and we talked about that, other kids would have just gave it right back, barked back adding fuel to the fire. I think with Gary’s situation, now that I have the full picture I guess I could say, we are hoping we can work this internally. We hope to work it internally with the organization to get Gary back skating again.”
The organization is more than willing to find a solution and Lubiniecki says, “My door is open all the time anyway. I’ve made the initiative to go and so it’s on the table. I’ve talked to his Dad and Dean and basically in a few days he will maybe feel like talking but I don’t know whether he does or not. Anyway he knows where we are.”