There are 22 teams in the WHL, and newspapers in each town generally have a writer dedicated to that beat.
In Kamloops is Gregg Drinnan, who has covered the league for more than 40 years, writing game stories, features and columns. This season, Kamloops hasn't been one of the better teams in the WHL and Gregg has brought that to the forefront in his columns.
Well, the Blazers owners and staff haven't cared for his brutally honest view of their team. In December, the club began denying him access to players, coaches and other team personnel. This my fine readers, is AGAINST league policy.
We writers have a one-page set of instructions in the annual WHL guide. It goes something like this.
On game day, we are allowed access to players and coaches up to 90 minutes before the game. Players and coaches are to be accessible to the media no more than 15 minutes after the game. If a player is injured and receiving treatment, this rule does not apply.
On regular practice days, teams are to make players and coaches available before and/or after practice, depending on team policy.
We may not take more than 30 minutes to conduct our interviews.
In the past, teams have been fined for not allowing such access. Kamloops, which has kept Gregg away from the team for three weeks, was not fined a dime. The rest of us who cover the league were not pleased that the Blazers skated away without so much as a slap on the wrist.
Greg Harder in Regina sums it up best. You can read it right all right here.
WHL commish Ron Robison went on camera after the two-hour meeting, as did Kamloops co-owner Tom Gaglardi, who was not very social. Watch here.