Hockey dad is reinforcing bad sportsmanship

I never thought I’d live to see a day when a hockey player could score 87 points in 27 games and be disappointed. Steven Croteau is either a spoiled brat or one hell of a perfectionist.

My guess is the latter. He’s also a bigger pessimist than I. Croteau’s 45 goals and 42 assists were judged not quite sufficient to become the New Brunswick Bantom AAA Most Valuable Player. Lucas Martin, who netted a paltry 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists), was named the MVP.

So, Croteau, obviously, is set to go out next year and prove the voters wrong, right? I’d have to be completely out of ideas to write about that. Steven and his dad Michael are suing. The Croteaus want $300,000 and the MVP trophy. The $300k is for mental damages.

If you ever played hockey, as I did for 10 years, you know that mental damages are part of the game. I never won the MVP in any of the leagues in which I played, but did I sue? No, but I sucked. Six of those years were played up north, so I understand how seriously people take the sport, especially in Canada. Croteau probably thinks that not winning the MVP award will hurt his chances of going somewhere in hockey. I don’t know about that — because I sucked — but suing when things don’t go his way won’t help him.

Do these two really expect the league to take the award away from Martin? If so, that’s sick. “We have to give the trophy back, Lucas. Court order, eh.” I think that demand is worse than the money. We’ve seen money given away for all kinds of stupid things, but taking a trophy away from a kid is deranged.

Being the leading scorer is not everything. I spent 10 years telling myself that. Jarome Iginla was the National Hockey League’s leading scorer for the 2001-2002 season. He was awarded the trophy given to the leading goal scorer (the Richard Trophy) and overall point leader (the Ross Trophy), as well as netting the Players Association award for the top player (the Pearson Award). But he did not win the League’s Most Valuable Player award (the Hart Trophy). That went to Jose Theodore, a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. Did Iginla sue? No. Maybe it’s because Iginla has a sense of sportsmanship, or maybe it was because his dad wasn’t involved.

The Croteaus were suspended from the New Brunswick hockey league they are suing. That move makes sense, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the right thing to do. Of course, the Croteaus are suing over this as well now. When did youth sports become such blood sports? It’s sick. This guy suing, the guy in Massachusetts who beat another hockey parent to death. This kind of thing is becoming way too commonplace. This is hockey; fight on the ice. Parents are simply getting too worked up over their kids’ amateur sports careers. I understand the desire to live through your children, but give it a rest.

It’s Croteau’s attitude about his son that’s amazing: “My son is a hero” (this is from MSNBC). No, Mr. Croteau, Steven is a brat who can’t deal with the fact he lost. We all lose at some point; get used to it. Try again next year, but don’t sue. You are not going to win; the coaches have voted for the MVP.

If you were anyone else, Steven Croteau, I’d tell you to be proud of the fact that you’re the scoring champion. But since you can’t even appreciate that, just quit. Nobody in that association will take you seriously again.

Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in