Hockey-Media Armistice Settled

January 12, 2011


In the spat which pitted the Kamloops Blazers hockey team against the Kamloops Daily News over denied access to one of its reporters, reason prevailed in the end and access to Gregg Drinnan has been restored. See the original Canary post ‘Hockey team and newspaper at war’ below or click here.

Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison and Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi met for two hours on Jan. 11 with Daily News publisher Tim Shoults and editor Mel Rothenburger.

In an interview afterwards, Robison announced that the league was lifting the ban.

Explaining the league’s position, Robinson stated that, ‘The issue was not surrounding the factual nature of the reporting.’

So the WHL concedes that Drinnan’s coverage was accurate and presumably unbiased.

What then was the source of their ‘legitimate concern’ to justify staying silent and doing nothing for nearly three weeks after Drinnan was banned from the team? 

Robison cryptically and convolutedly added, ‘It was more to ensure the Blazers received what we consider to be similar coverage to what we receive in other WHL markets in terms of coverage of media conferences, dealing with certain subjects of a more positive nature as opposed to reporting on other issues.’  See quote here.

It is also interesting to note that Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi inferred that revoking of Drinnan’s access to the team was a decision of the Western Hockey League. ‘This has been a league matter from the beginning and we were in lockstep with the league,’ Gaglardi said.

So the majority owner of the team which sent the letter to a newspaper banning one of its reporters is blaming the league for the ban?

If this is indeed the case, then the WHL would have been in violation of its own media access policy.

These are strange times indeed.

Robison’s and Gaglardi’s interview can be seen here.

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