Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

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Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby sudburyboy18 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:36 pm

http://www.saultstar.com/2014/10/09/owner-helping-make-mockery-of-wolves----ruicci-column

Nepotism isn't the Sudbury Wolves only problem.

But because of what it can do to a hockey team, it's a big one.

And chances are, it's not going away.

Not as long as Mark Burgess continues to own the OHL franchise.

Winger Connor Burgess, now 18, is in his third season. with the Wolves.

If anyone other than his father owned the team, young Burgess would have been done as an OHLer a long time ago.

Typically, people around the league chuckle and shake their heads when the topic comes up.

Among serious hockey followers, it's the elephant in the room wherever the Wolves play.

Simply, for a third-year player, Connor's ability is so far beneath what it takes to successfully compete in this league, it's shocking.

He skates as if he's carrying a piano on his back.

And yet, he's been in the Wolves starting lineup for all six of the team's 2014-2015 games. He played in 59 games a season ago.

I've been told Mark Burgess sees his son as a very-skilled player.

Connor Burgess played here Wednesday in Sudbury's fifth-straight loss, a 6-1 setback at the hands of the Greyhounds.

He stood out for all of the wrong reasons.

Is that being too critical of the kid's ability?

Sadly, it isn't.

Just ask any OHL scout what he thinks.

In 97 games, regular season and playoffs combined, Burgess has no goals and three assists.

Goalies – those with the ability to move the puck well – have more points.

Burgess also has a plus-minus of minus-23.

You can't help but feel sorry for the kid.

He's obviously very bright, having been named the league's top secondary school student following the 2012-2013 season.

He also obviously loves the sport.

The blame for this incredibly-ridiculous situation lies solely at the feet of his father.

Mark Burgess is showing a blatant lack of respect for Wolves fans, the other players on his team and the integrity of this league.

Look, the other kids on the Wolves roster aren't idiots.

They know Connor's not good enough to play in this league.

And they know why he's still on the team. Hell, everyone knows why.

Major junior players across the country are chasing dreams of one day playing professional hockey.

Is it fair for a kid with such dreams to have to play on the same line as someone who doesn't possess the skill set to be an OHLer?

Is it fair for a player who doesn't belong at this level to take the ice time and/or roster spot of someone more deserving?

And for a team that presently sports a 1-5-0-0 record, this entire situation must be tremendously frustrating.

Now head coach Paul Fixter knew what he was getting into when he accepted the job.

He knew giving ice time to Connor Burgess was part of the job description.

Yet, he obviously wanted to be an OHL head coach – regardless of the baggage that comes with it in the city of Sudbury.

But at times such as this, when Fixter is trying to turn things around, how difficult is it to preach accountability to his players?

They surely realize it doesn't apply to everyone in the dressing room.

Playing time and opportunity on successful teams is performance based.

On the Wolves, it's relationship based.

What does it do to the morale of Sudbury players, who displayed little fight here on Wednesday, when they know the organization isn't completely serious about icing the very-best team possible?

If the Wolves were interested in doing that, opportunities and roster spots wouldn't be dependent on DNA.
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Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby Danger Girl » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:12 pm

There seems to be some sort of misconception that the team somehow belongs to the fans. It does not. Sure, owners usually kowtow to the fans because that's what brings them money, and money is very important to most owners. But Mark Burgess obviously feels that having his son on the team is more important than money. Or fan support. Or team success. And it's his prerogative. When you own a team, you can chose to run it however you want, within league rules (and sometimes those can be bent).

It sucks for Wolves' fans for sure. But you only have 2 more seasons after this to deal with it.
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby duke1036 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:59 pm

Not to pick at a scab or anything, but he made the team as a 16 year old ?
Any other Burgess boys near OHL playing age ?
Is there some twisted sort of tax angle there . IE: Playing for the Wolves, team
education package pays tuition...... not directly paid by parents, business operating expenses for the Wolves; vs
paid by parents from after tax income ?
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby The Man22 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:06 pm

Danger Girl wrote:There seems to be some sort of misconception that the team somehow belongs to the fans. It does not. Sure, owners usually kowtow to the fans because that's what brings them money, and money is very important to most owners. But Mark Burgess obviously feels that having his son on the team is more important than money. Or fan support. Or team success. And it's his prerogative. When you own a team, you can chose to run it however you want, within league rules (and sometimes those can be bent).

It sucks for Wolves' fans for sure. But you only have 2 more seasons after this to deal with it.


I agree with you. The fans don't own the team. Burgess can do what he wants. Until the fans stop showing up and the building is empty. Then it will for sure be all about what the owner wants.
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby sudburyboy18 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:54 pm

Well It's official. Connor Burgess has left the team to pursue University full-time.

http://m.sudburywolves.com/article/rosters-news

The Sudbury Wolves have announced that forward Connor Burgess has notified the hockey club that he has made the decision to pursue his university studies on a full-time basis. No further comment will be made at this time.
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby Eagle Vision » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:34 pm

This is a sad story for all involved, especially the fans and the players.

The OHL also lost a good coach in Trent Cull through this whole fiasco.

To those that state that someone can do what they want with their money if they own the team - I disagree, it's a developmental league. Team owners and coaches have a responsibility to both parents and their children whom are playing to foster a good growth environment or these guys.

I'm very glad that this saga has finally come to an end, I can't imagine what Connor must have been going through, and sincerely wish him the best. As a youngster my dream was to play in the OHL and he went that far. I'm in disbelief that this escalated to the point that it did.
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby nfthunder » Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:52 pm

Very well said Eagle Vision. It is nice that people other than the father and son were recognized by you as being impacted (negatively) by the situation. It is also very nice that you recognized that while OHL teams are privately run businesses, they are supposed to be developing players, something that this situation completely ignored.
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby Sea Bass » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:08 am

Danger Girl wrote:There seems to be some sort of misconception that the team somehow belongs to the fans. It does not. Sure, owners usually kowtow to the fans because that's what brings them money, and money is very important to most owners. But Mark Burgess obviously feels that having his son on the team is more important than money. Or fan support. Or team success. And it's his prerogative. When you own a team, you can chose to run it however you want, within league rules (and sometimes those can be bent).

It sucks for Wolves' fans for sure. But you only have 2 more seasons after this to deal with it.

I don't think anybody thinks fans own teams. And don't you agree there's often a difference between what somebody 'can' do and what somebody 'should' do?
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby Sea Bass » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:09 am

Also, does Peter Riucci write all of his columns like free verse poems?
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Re: Owner Helping Make Mockery of Wolves - Sault Star Column

Postby nfthunder » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:57 pm

I have no inside knowledge whatsoever, but I have a hunch that David Branch might have spoken with Burgess Sr. about what was going on. Although the Wolves are a privately run business, this situation has a trickle down effect on the rest of the league, which makes it Branch's business. Pathetic situations like this one makes it harder to attract corporate sponsors, players etc.

Seems kind of ironic that a scathing article like this appears, and the kid decides to pack it in in mid-October to concentrate full time on university studies (even though universities are in the middle of a semester). It's not like the situation was new, it has been going on for 2+ years. Hard to believe the kid (an academic award winner) took that long to conclude that he couldn't cut it; his teammates knew that long ago (which I do know for a fact). My hunch was that it all become too much, both with local fans and the media, for the commissioner to sit on the sidelines and not intervene on the basis that it's his team and business. With pressure from above, the Burgess family finally decided to end this fiasco. Again, there is no inside knowledge on this, just logic based speculation
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