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The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

September 27, 2022

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Are you ready? Let's go.

Speaker 2:
From AMI Central.

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Now start playing in the Neutrals Zone.

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Here's the pitch on the way.

Speaker 3:
36 yards for the win.

Speaker 2:
This-

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Here comes a big chance. The shot-

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Is-

Speaker 6:
[inaudible 00:00:06] tiger.

Speaker 2:
The Neutral Zone.

Speaker 6:
Goal. Oh my God.

Speaker 7:
This is as good as it gets.

Speaker 2:
Now, here's your host, two-time Paralympian, Brock Richardson.

Brock Richardson:
Sometimes when you start these shows, you think to yourself, "Yeah, I'm ready to go." Until 15 seconds before it says your name, and you realize, your mic is probably not in the right place. Your ear cup is is not on the right place. But I'm here and I'm ready to go, and we're ready to do another edition of the Neutral Zone. I am indeed your host, Brock Richardson, and I'm alongside Claire Buchanan. Claire, how are you?

Claire Buchanan:
I'm doing fantastic, I only have one thing to say this week. And that's, go Pack go. My Pack be, "Calm Brady this weekend."

Brock Richardson:
Okay, goodbye. That's the get [inaudible 00:01:06].

Cam Jenkins:
They got lucky.

Claire Buchanan:
Two and a half minutes left in the game and Tom Brady's got the ball in his hands, everyone gets a little nervous, but we pulled it out.

Brock Richardson:
Actually let me bring in Cam Jenkins officially, and then I will bring in the next comment that I have. Hello Cameron, how are you?

Cam Jenkins:
I'm doing okay. I was in Campbell for this past weekend, celebrating the birthday of one Mr. Kyle Petty, who's a three-time Paralympic medal winner. So got to spend some time with Kyle, and drink some beverages, and tell some lies, and it was good.

Brock Richardson:
Awesome. Well, you'll notice that this week is Cameron and Claire. And the reason for that is because, Josh's Dolphins beat my Bills, so he's not invited to this week's podcast. We're not allowing Josh to be part of this week's podcast. Totally kidding, that it's not the reason for it. But I'm a little bit bitter this week, and I'm just talking the truth here, on the Neutral Zone. Guys, we got a lot of good feedback on last week's episode, pertaining to coaches' week. And we got some comments, that we're going to read. Starting with, one, Cam Jenkins.

Cam Jenkins:
Yeah, we got a great feedback from a gentleman by the name of Lance Kreidman. And he said that, "That was an awesome tribute to your dad, Brock. And he's a phenomenal bocce coach, and has unquestionably helped me bring my skills to a whole new level. To say that I'm grateful, is an understatement, and thanks to your dad."

Brock Richardson:
And then I'm going to read a remark from the [inaudible 00:03:12] mention father of mine, who said, "Thanks Brock, Cam, and Josh, that was an [inaudible 00:03:19] testimonial to coaches. I always said, you were the hardest athlete to coach. There were a lot of good times. I'm very happy and proud of you as you move on in life. Married, doing what you do best, TALKING SPORTS. So that, from my father. And thank you very much for the wonderful comments."

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah. Andre Grenier also commented, "Great piece on the coaches, you guys nailed it. Thanks for spotlighting the coaches, because they're often the last to get recognition. So thank you."

Cam Jenkins:
And finally, we had a comment on YouTube from Jay and NM. And they simply said, "I appreciate that you guys don't just talk sports, it's refreshing and keeps things real." So thank you very much for that comment, Jay and NM.

Brock Richardson:
That was a bit of a tongue twister for you there, Cameron. Well done. And thanks everybody for the wonderful feedback you gave on last week's show. We greatly appreciate it. Always welcome. And it's time to get on with this week's show. And to do that, let's get into our headlines.

Claire Buchanan:
Robert Sarver has started the process on selling both of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury teams, that he currently owns. Which the WNBA team, was one of the founded teams in the inaugural season of the league. I think at the end of the day, whether he apologized or not, this one-year suspension and the fine just isn't enough. And it's a smart move for him and the league, for him to walk away from the team.

Brock Richardson:
Yes. And to a man, athletes and coaching staff said the other day in media that, they support this decision and he's made the right one. A big congratulations goes out to Blue Jays' broadcaster, Jamie Campbell, for winning the Sports Media Canada Presence Award. Which goes out to a great Canadian broadcaster. And I'll tell you one thing, I can't think of a better Canadian broadcaster for this award to go out to, especially this year. Given that he's battled leukemia and still been behind the desk at Blue Jays Central. That man bleeds blue and we love him. Congratulations, Jamie, and it's so nice to see you behind the desk as the Blue Jays head towards a playoff run.

Cam Jenkins:
Well said Brock. Boston Celtics head coach, Ime Udoka, will be suspended for the entire 2022 and 23 season, for his role in a consensual relationship with a female staff member. That's per Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke the story first. In today's world, even if you're in a consensual relationship with somebody within an organization, you have to be so careful now. It's an area where everyone is being a lot more politically correct, and you really do have to be careful of what you do. So that's about it.

Claire Buchanan:
Three NHL players have hung up their skates. Zdeno Chara after 25 seasons, P.K. Subban after 13 seasons and Keith Yandel after 16 seasons. Congratulations to all of them on their retirement. They left an everlasting feeling on the game and in their fans.\

Brock Richardson:
Okay. Those are your headlines, let's check in on our Twitter poll questions. Let's go back to last week. How important was it for you to watch Queen Elizabeth the second's funeral? 56% of you said, very important. 22% of you said moderately. And 22% of you also said, "I didn't watch/I didn't care." As both of those options were in the same category. This week's question is, how important is home field advantage for the Toronto Blue Jays? Very, slightly, doesn't matter, make the playoffs. You can cast your votes at our Twitter handle, Richardson coming at you right now.

Speaker 8:
And welcome back to the Neutral Zone AMI broadcast booth, and we are set to get this ballgame underway. The first pitch brought to you by Brock Richardson's Twitter account, @neutralzonebr. First pitch strike. And hey gang, why not strike up a Twitter chat with Claire Buchanan for the Neutral Zone. Find her at Neutral Zone CB. And there's a swing and a chopper out to second base right at Claire. She picks up the ball, throws it over to first base, for a routine out. And fans, there is nothing routine about connecting with Cam and Josh from the Neutral Zone. @NeutralZoneCamJ and @JWatson200. Now that's a winning combination. And this Oregon interlude, is brought to you by AMI-audio on...

Brock Richardson:
Our guest for today's program is Tara Chisholm. She is the head coach of the Canadian Women's National Para Ice Hockey Program. Recently she and her team competed at the first-ever World Para Ice Hockey World Challenge and they came home with a silver medal. She joins us now from Medicine Hat Alberta. Tara, welcome to the program. Nice to have you along.

Tara Chisholm:
Thanks for having me.

Cam Jenkins:
So Tara, I thought we could maybe start by talking about the preparation that took place for your team prior to this event.

Tara Chisholm:
Okay. Yeah, so we were able to, oh well this was our first major event. I should start with that. Our first major event from COVID. So we hadn't been together in an event like this since 2019. So we had been working together virtually as a program for a long time. And then in April we went to Yellow Knife, Northwest Territories to do tryouts along with some local outreach. And then from there we started to host regional camps. And then, we were able to host one major camp before the event. Not everyone was able to attend, but most of our athletes were. And that was in July in Calgary before we went to Green Bay, Wisconsin in August.

Claire Buchanan:
Once all of the athletes landed in Green Bay, can you give us an idea of what it looks like before competition started?

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, so for the first few days we were busy kind of preparing both with World Para Ice Hockey and their different kind of bodies that they have there for classification. We had our athletes sit through a drug-free sports seminar and we had equipment checks that went on. And all of our athletes got classified, which was great to be able to have, because we didn't know going into the event if we were going to lose some of our athletes at that classification panel or not. So it was nice that all of our athletes got classified status and they were able to participate in the tournament. And then we had some practices too. So to just prepare a little bit more kind of shake off any rest from travelling because there was some long travel days for especially a few of our athletes that got delayed and flights got cancelled and equipment got missed along the way. So yeah, it was not smooth sailing for the first few days, that's for sure. But we tried to do the best with what we had.

Cam Jenkins:
And was it the entire team that went to where the Packers played or was that just Claire and I saw at the beginning of the show, she brought her cheese heads.

Tara Chisholm:
Oh, did she? That's nice. Yeah, most of the team, I was in a coaching meeting alongside my manager of the team, so we didn't go. But yeah, most of our other staff and most of our players went. Some allocated to go back to the hotel and rest who weren't big football fans, but for those that weren't, even those who weren't to see a professional stadiums pretty cool. So yeah.

Cam Jenkins:
Fair enough. Now the event was called the World Para Ice Hockey Challenge. Can you explain why not just a straightforward world championship?

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, so a World Championship is historically is eight teams, eight teams competing at an elite level. And so for us with women's para hockey internationally, we don't have eight teams yet. So therefore we can't call it a world championship and therefore no ranking system goes into place. So for us, that's why we're holding these world challenges, is so that every year we can gain another team or two to eventually get to a world championship.

Claire Buchanan:
With this inaugural tournament and competition under your belt, how much closer does this make it to put the women's game at a World championships and then later on the Paralympic Games?

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, well I think a big success of this event was just to have so many women classified. So that now is within the data management system within World Para Ice Hockey and IPC to say there's 64, I believe it was, 64 women that were classified at this event. So that goes up a lot from the two that were there previous years. So every year if we're able to add more and more teams to this event, that's going to help just with regards to showing that data trail of there's an increase in women's participation in our sport and therefore there should be resources and funding allocated towards it. And then it also gives more credit for our sport or side of the sport so that other countries can see what's happening in the country next to them or in the nations next to them, and hopefully inspire them to get their own team started so they can compete. When there is a world championship and then especially when there's a Paralympics that rolls around.

Brock Richardson:
We're joined by Tara Chisholm, who is the head coach for the Canadian Women's Para Ice Hockey Program. You're listening to The Neutral Zone and I'm alongside Cam Jenkins and Claire Buchanan. And of course you're listening to Brock Richardson, the host of the program.

Cam Jenkins:
So the event had Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and also a Team World. Can you maybe talk a little bit about the competition that Canada went up against?

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, so it was very exciting. I know for both myself to coach in it and then my players to play against another full nation team because for a long time it had been the United States and us and then a Team Europe or a Team World before. So to have Great Britain there as their own nation was very exciting. And then to have the World Team there too, because again, historically we had a lot of European nations that had competed. With Norway and Sweden and Finland coming together. But now to be able to have an Asian nation there also with a woman from Japan coming, I think that was really exciting. And then there's new countries that we're developing, like Latvia that sent a woman also. So to see all these women that we had never played against before, to see them coming and representing their country at the event was really exciting for us. Just to see the growth of the sport.

Claire Buchanan:
We all know when it comes down to Canada and USA we hope to be on the winning side of that, but we walked away with silver and at the end of the event it was still a successful event. And can you touch on how that was a success and what did you want your athletes to take away from the event?

Tara Chisholm:
This is so strange of you asking me this question, Claire, I was like, what did you take away from the event?

Claire Buchanan:
We haven't had a post...

Cam Jenkins:
Those questions...

Claire Buchanan:
Event meeting yet, one on one.

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, no, I think for myself, I know heading into the event we had a really, a young team, or not necessarily young, but just a team that hadn't had a lot of international experience. So we only had six players on our team that had more than one year of international experience. So we knew that it was going to be a challenge. And just with regards to some of the things that we came up against with COVID and not everyone being able to financially afford to come to all the camps beforehand. Or just time wise with work and school, etc., there's a lot of different barriers that our women experience that maybe others who are fully funded Paralympic sports don't experience as much. So we knew that we were going to try to be as prepared as we could with what we had and make the best of it.

Tara Chisholm:
And we had a really good game, especially our second game or that gold medal game in the second and third period. That was some of the best hockey that Team Canada has played together in a long time, even including past Team Canada's that I've coached. So it was really good to see. We just needed more time to be together as a team, but that's what the next few years look like. It's kind of similar to the start of Quad General for Paralympic sport. We know that we're rebuilding, we know that we've got a new squad with us, so you know, you can't win every year. That's not how sports work. You have some years where you're rebuilding and then some years where you got a full team of veterans that are competing. So our full team of veterans will be in a few years from now.

Cam Jenkins:
So what did you learn about your team during that event that you didn't necessarily know beforehand?

Tara Chisholm:
I learned how quickly they can take new knowledge in. So like I said, we didn't have a lot of camps beforehand. We only had one full camp with our whole team and it wasn't quite our full team. So I was throwing a lot of them... A lot at them in competition, which I typically wouldn't do. When you go to a competition, you're just there to put in place all that you've learned and you don't try and teach anything new. You just try and let the athletes do what you've taught them. But since we didn't have time with our athletes, we were starting to break down systems and we were learning new systems and having lots of defence and goal tender and forward meetings in the midst of a competition, which is tricky to do.

Tara Chisholm:
But like I said, this is our opportunity to learn right now just because we don't have the resources to continue to get together. So seems weird to learn at a major event, but for us, our goals are a few years out from now, these world challenges are a really good opportunity for us to keep learning and building as a program, as a team. And then when it counts, when we look towards world championships and Paralympic games, then we're going to have a lot of foundation that we've built along the way.

Claire Buchanan:
I completely agree. I can attest that there was a lot to soak in, in just a few days and we had a fantastic showing of how much that turnaround of knowledge truly was throughout the group. In Medicine Hat and in all over Alberta. You also take care of some other sports programs. Can you talk a little bit about those programs that you help out with?

Tara Chisholm:
Sure. Yeah. So here in Alberta I kind of wear a few different hats. One I wear with Alberta Cerebral Palsy Sports Association, so I'm the provincial coordinator for the sport of boccia, which I know you are all familiar with because I've listened to your podcast many times when the coaches come on. Yeah, so my role there is to help to start more programs in Alberta. So we are just been working with Calgary to get more things going there. And then we've got programs in Edmonton and Grand Prairie trying to get some stuff going in Red Deer, Strathmore, and then here in Medicine Hat where I'm from. So that's a really fun role to do. I just actually taught boccia about an hour ago to my college students. I teach the intro to adapted physical education at the college. So I had a couple of my athletes come out and instruct, so that was really fun to watch college students be able to just get schooled by some of my power wheelchair users who, there's some assumptions that are made when people roll in the doors.

Tara Chisholm:
But yeah, no, everybody had a really good time and it was awesome. And then one of my other hats is I, the program coordinator for Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation. So I started an organization in 2014 and it's mostly para sports but not all. So we also do things like baseball and golf, which aren't in the Paralympics right now. But yeah, when it comes to this fall, we have our typical program, so we run a pretty large sledge hockey program, and then we run wheelchair basketball, wheelchair curling, boccia of course. And then we do some fitness activities too. So yeah, it keeps me busy for sure with all that stuff going on. But yeah, it's really enjoyable to get to work with grassroots athletes and introduce people to the sport for the first time and then set some goals locally. So yeah, I just get to be in para-sport constantly, which is nice.

Cam Jenkins:
That's amazing. I don't know how you get any sleep with all the different hats that you have.

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah.

Cam Jenkins:
So how can people get involved in any of the sports that you just mentioned, if they want to get involved?

Tara Chisholm:
Yeah, so for anyone who's living in Southeastern Alberta, you can contact us at our website, which is mhasr.com, mhasr.com. And then for anyone who wants to get involved provincially in Alberta with boccia, acpsa.ca is our website there and has all our contact information on. And even if there's not a program in your area, we are really fortunate to work with Boccia Canada and some of our funders to do some virtual stuff too. So also be leading some virtual programming for boccia still because we found out during COVID that for some people virtual is more accessible to them, even though COVID might not be as much of a factor, we have things like transportation needs or accessibility barriers that come into play. And Boccia is a sport that you can kind of do in a small space or at least practice and have fun with. So we've been doing some virtual sessions, still have been going really well with our partners from BC and Manitoba and Saskatchewan. So yeah, if anybody's interested in joining those, just let me know.

Brock Richardson:
Awesome. And our program is completely transcribed, so if you didn't get a chance to write those, that information down, it will be transcribed at ami.ca/theneutralzone where you can get all that information up as soon as you see this podcast. Tara, first of all, thank you so much for your support of our program and we enjoy the fact that you're one of our partners and you listen to our podcast. And secondly, I'm really glad that I could awkwardly facilitate the start of yours and Claire's one-on-one meeting of the games that just took place.

Tara Chisholm:
Excellent. Thank you Brock, appreciate that. Squeeze it in there today.

Brock Richardson:
Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much and it won't be too long before you join us again. Thanks so much.

Tara Chisholm:
You bet. Thanks guys.

Brock:
That was Tara Chisholm, who is the head coach of the Canadian Women's National Para Hockey Program, and she joined us from Medicine Hat Alberta. If you want to give us your feedback on that interview or anything else, here's how you can do it.

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Hey, if you want to leave a message for the Neutral Zone, call now, 1-866-509-4545. And don't forget to give us permission to use your message on the air. Let's get ready to leave a voicemail.

Brock:
As we continue on with our podcast, I thought I would put out there the fact that Claire was supposed to join us, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was supposed to join us last week when we talked about coaches and she was unable to do so. So I thought we would spend the first couple of minutes of this chunk of the show discussing with her the importance of coaches and some of the stuff she's learned from different coaches she's had. And as we let go of Tara, it was remarked that she would be chatting and I promised Tara that it would be all good things. So Claire, I'm holding you to that, that it would be all good things and what a wonderful interview it was with Tara and I'll give you the floor from there.

Claire:
Yeah, I mean Tara is one of those coaches that leave an impression and don't just affect your life as an athlete, but outside being an athlete as well. I want to start off by, I'm going to touch on three separate coaches that I've had over my 20 years as an athlete. So yeah, my first wheelchair basketball coach, Chris Chandler, he just instilled that genuine love for the game. I came into the sport of wheelchair basketball at the age of 13 and he was always just one of those coaches that was not only just a sponge of the game; he's constantly wanting to learn and grow as a coach himself, but he just had so much and still has so much knowledge of the game and just oozes passion for wheelchair basketball itself. You can talk for days about the sport with that guy and just the fundamentals of it as well.

Claire:
So yeah, I still talk and connect with him to this day. He's one of those coaches that I can shoot a text to and we're grabbing a beer the next week. Yeah, great coach, great guy. And another coach that is very similar but has a little more of a, he's got a military background, so you can only imagine the type of coaching that-

Brock:
Oh boy.

Claire:
...this individual does. But Mike Frogley. Mike Frogley, is not only one of the legends of the game as an athlete himself, but again, is just one of those fountains of wisdom and knowledge of the game and true essence of how much success you can get from literally putting in the work in day in, day out, be up before the sun is and get the rest. And it's not just about the on-court stuff with him, it's making sure that your nutrition is right and that you're doing the things off the court that can take you away from the game as well.

Claire:
He's a big on being a student as well and getting your education. He was one of the coaches that was recruiting me when I was looking to go to the States to play college basketball and coming back after playing wheelchair basketball in the States. And being able to go right back into the national team program and see him and be coached by him every single day, not only made me a better basketball player, but also a better all-around athlete. And just zoned in on what I want to do and how I want to leave a legacy aside from being an athlete as well.

Claire:
And I mean, last but not least at all, Tara. I came back from the States playing wheelchair basketball and as an athlete that my first sport was sledge hockey. My first love of sport was on the ice and finding out that while I was in the States there was this women's national program forming and that there was now a Team Canada for women that little girls and women can aspire to be on. Just, it blew my mind and literally, I got told that there was a team Canada for women and that week I bought a sled and it literally felt like learning it all over again. I was all over the place. My mom has a video that she loves to share that comes up on her Facebook memories of me just running into the boards where there the play isn't even happening.

Claire:
But being connected with Tara and she, like you saw earlier, she wears so many hats in the para-sport world as an able-bodied human, simply because she loves para sports and she loves being a part of it. And she loves putting in her knowledge and her effort to grow para sports and women's sledge hockey specifically. So Tara has shown me the ways in which I can give back to the game and help push the women's game forward in ways off of the ice.

Claire:
And it's like this show right here is one of the reasons why I love doing what I do is because it's one of those things where we get to use our voice to grow the game and shed more light on the para-sport world. And Tara and her husband, our assistant coach Derek, they have supported me so much over the last eight years that I truly have felt that they're always in my corner. I can call Tara up or shoot her a text literally about anything and she's right there. Even though she somehow is busy all the time doing something, she will always find time to make sure that her teammates and her athletes are still enjoying the game and doing okay and making sure that they have all the resources available.

Claire:
She's constantly setting up Zoom calls with other people around the sports world to make sure that we are supported fully because as she mentioned, we are self funded right now as a program. So we do put a lot of time and effort and money and our life gets kind of disprioritized sometimes because we are self-funded. But yeah, she just always makes sure that she's there and in your corner.

Brock:
I love the fact that Tara put out there earlier that she's at least sometimes listener to our podcast and now video podcast. And I just love the humour she came out with when you asked her the question about what did you learn? And classic coach is like, well, I was thinking the same thing to ask you and what did you learn? And just the humour and even though you're wearing so many hats and so many things, you still have time to be a human being. And I just think that that's amazing.

Brock:
And I mean, I'll be honest, I could hear the emotion in your voice when you're talking about coaches and that's because coaches do make a lasting impact on our lives every day and every time we talk to them. Sometimes that can be bosses or managers, whatever the case is, there are people that make a lasting impact on your life. And so thank you so much for sharing that. I just want to know, is there one thing from all of those coaches, or even some that you haven't mentioned, that always sticks with you no matter where you go and you said, oh yeah, this coach said blank.

Claire:
It's not really something specifically that they said, just in the ways that they lead and also live their lives as well. All three coaches do so much to give back to the game and give back to the athletes that they work with as well. And they truly realize and embody that it takes a village and that you can't do it alone. So they truly are all humans that make sure that they stay connected with their athletes and that they put in the time to give back to a game that has given them so much as well.

Brock:
Here here to that totally. Thank you so much for sharing. Cameron, do you have anything to ask or add to that?

Cameron:
No, not really. That's great experiences that Claire has had with coaches and Claire's had a long and storied career, whether it be through wheelchair basketball or through para ice hockey as well. So kudos to you for having that desire to want to keep doing it for so long into putting in the effort, because it's a lot of effort to do that. So kudos to you.

Claire:
Absolutely. Actually, we had our first hockey practice this past Sunday and there was a little girl that sh was trying sledge hockey for the first time. And it's just those moments right there that is, this is why I love this game. And it's what we're doing as an organization and worldwide with all of the other para hockey teams. It's for those little girls getting on the ice right now that we can say, hey, you can be in their Paralympics one day. So it's what it's all about.

Brock:
And every parent and/or coach has that one video that you're just like, why does this keep having to come up over and over and over again? Yeah.

Claire:
Every year my mom shares it. I'm like, Why? What are you doing? The likes of Brad Bowden in the video and I'm going completely the opposite way and...

Cameron:
See, I was born in the seventies or eighties, so a lot of the videos I never had growing up. So I'm kind of glad I grew up in the era that I did.

Brock:
Yes, no, we all have those videos we don't want anyone to share and they continue to persist, those same videos. I want to move on to our next topic, which was also brought to me by the one and only Claire Buchanan. And that is the fact that Jonathan Davis covers up the Nike logo in a game against Qatar, after Nike confirms Canada will not be getting a new uniform, as does everyone else will do, getting a new uniform. Cameron, just your thoughts on this. What's your first reaction?

Cameron:
Well, my first reaction is why, if everyone else is getting it, why is Canada not getting a new uniform? And Jonathan Davis, I guess he's covering the logo to show support for Canada and doesn't want to promote Nike is what I'm assuming. So yeah, it'd be very interesting because I don't know the reason why Canada's not getting a new uniform.

Brock:
They claim, from what I'm understanding, that it does have to do partially with funding, but there has been this lash with Canada and Soccer Canada. I mean, when Canada qualified for the World Cup, everyone went to go and get a Canadian soccer jersey. Why couldn't you get one? Oh, because they didn't have a plan for this to happen, which tells me did they really believe that Canada was going to make the World Cup? I don't think so. And it wasn't a matter of the fact that there wasn't any, they just didn't have a game plan for what it was they were going to do when people wanted to order jerseys.

Brock:
So I mean there's just been this ongoing Soccer Canada and the athletes. And the thing that I will say that I do support, is that although we need to be looking at equality for pay between both men and women. I think that that's the one side of this that I will stand on. I think that I agree with the athletes and I think even Soccer Canada does agree with this. But it's just been a mess and it just feels like to me that they're the forgotten stepchild that nobody wants to be a part of. And Claire, I'm just curious from you, two things. One, why you decided to bring this story to me and your reaction and thoughts?

Claire:
Well, I mean plain and simple, Nike for one. So I don't understand where they would have issues with funding. I understand that every company in business has a budget and they have it lined out certain ways. And that's why there's this struggle and debate, if you will, over equal pay with men and women and shifting money around and well, if we take money from, we have to take money from this part of Soccer Canada to give it to this part of Soccer Canada. And now this whole, you put it perfectly Brock, that sounded like they just did not believe in the team and they should have had a plan either way. Either way, if they made the World Cup or not, they should have had a plan. Because I mean Soccer Canada, soccer in Canada is blowing up right now because of this team. And at the same time, fans can't get jerseys. Blows my mind.

Cameron:
Well, what I don't understand though, Claire, is that usually when you have a Team Canada. Soccer, hockey, whatever it happens to be, to me, one of the first things you would want to do is get a sponsorship deal from some sort of clothing company because you're trying to go to the World Cup and you're representing Canada against everybody else, when you're trying to get to the World Cup. So I don't understand why they didn't have some sort of a deal with some company to dress Team Canada.

Claire:
That's interesting. They could have, or they should have put a lot more effort into finding a sponsor that is actually Canadian. And yes, it's great to be sponsored by Nike and stuff, but Cameron, yeah, that's a great point.

Cameron:
What did they do for all of the-

Claire:
There should have been a Canadian company backing them up.

Cameron:
Or what were they being dressed in when they were doing all of the games leading up to the World Cup to qualify? They were known as Team Canada. They had Team Canada Jerseys. Who was making those jerseys for Team Canada?

Brock:
Nike. This is the thing, this is what's happening. Nike's saying, no, you're going to run with the same outfit that you've been running to qualify for the event. Meanwhile, every other nation's going, we're getting a new uniform, we're getting a new uniform. And everyone's looking over at Canada going, hey, little brother, why are you guys still in those same dirty clothes? And it's like-

Cameron:
They can't come up with a new uniform before the World Cup?

Brock:
Of course they can. They just don't want to. That's the feeling that I've-

Claire:
That's exactly the vibe that they're giving off.

Cameron:
That's ridiculous. That's ridiculous.

Claire:
They can, but they're choosing not to.

Brock:
Choosing not to. That's like people who say, oh, Toronto's not a big market for baseball and Rogers can't spend. Excuse me? It's this-

Cameron:
Maybe Nike's concerned that Canada's going to beat the USA and so they're trying to start something by not giving Canada uniforms.

Brock:
If you're going to get into a partnership with somebody, whether you're American, Canadian or anything in between, you should have equality for both countries. And if you're not going to have equality for both countries, there are Canadian companies that would do the very same thing. I'm pretty sure Sport Check is Canadian, which they do run all kinds of different things. They could do it. And I agree this should be a Canadian company that does it. But at the end of it all, who's the one with the swish on it? It's Nike. So therefore you need to honor your partnership and make new uniform because it smells nothing but funny, Claire, when you don't.

Claire:
Oh, absolutely. I am so interested to see how this unravels because, one, whether they get new uniforms or not, it'll be interesting to see what their relationship and what the contract is that they do have. Or if they continue it with Nike because I think we've touched on it, that it would be maybe a better move to bring in just a Canadian sports company.

Brock:
Yeah, it's just wrong. I mean, Nike, if you don't want this, you can bleep or get off the pot and if you're not sure what the bleep is, Google it, because it will come up.

Cameron:
I even wonder, Brock, when you go to the World Cup, is there a sponsor for the World Cup for them to make uniforms? Is it Nike that has to end up that is saying, oh yeah, okay, we make the uniforms for the World Cup. Are they a sponsor of that? I don't know, I just have quite a few more questions before I totally go postal on Nike.

Brock:
From what I understand, because Nike has come out and said we're giving a new uniform to everybody else that we have sponsored. Whether that's everybody in the World Cup or whether that's a group, I'm not entirely sure. But the fact is they've come out and said, oh yeah, we're going to sponsor everybody else that we are in charge of except for Canada. And to me that's not cool. And guys, I've had it happen to me at the Paralympic games where our sporting organization, and I love Boche Canada, they've done a lot of great things for us on this program, but we've had to run due to financial deficits with the same uniform. That's more acceptable on a not-for-profit rather than Nike, who I better believe, makes a lot more than Boche Canada. So it's easier to swallow when you can say, well a not-for-profit versus a company that worldwide makes shoes or any other clothing that they do, they make more money. They can put together a uniform. To me, they just don't want to. And that's wrong.

Claire:
Absolutely. Brock, in the eight years that I've been on the national team, we've had two sets of new jerseys, so it's exactly the same situation.

Brock:
I don't know, it's just wrong and it's not cool. And good on Mr. Davis for covering it up and saying, well, I don't agree with what you're doing. Because I think if it was a case of well, maybe they don't have money, maybe you don't see the covering up. But I think Mr. Davis is well aware of what's going on with Nike and what was the end goal of this team? Was it not to make the World Cup? Why are you sponsoring them if you don't want them to be part of the World Cup? Oh, that's because they haven't been part of it for 30-plus years and you didn't expect it. Now shame, shame on Nike. And it just, it's unfortunate that this is happening.

Brock:
I want to move down to something we had a discussion on regarding the Boston Celtics coach and that he has been suspended for a year due to his involvement in a consensual relationship. I just want your deeper thoughts on this. For me, it was kind of one of those things where I thought, well, it says consensual, that it was a consensual thing. And so is it just me that kind of goes, now I have had a bit of a change of a heart, Claire, and I've thought to myself, well maybe they just don't want this happening in the workplace. Any further thoughts?

Claire:
Well, I mean it might have been in their work contract as well. It might have been one of the kind of fine prints of no relationships within the organization. And it's nice to know that it was consensual, with all of the stories that we've had recently that this kind of stuff hasn't been consensual. So I mean, at the end of the day, there hasn't been a whole lot of argument about it from the head coach. So he's kind of just taken it as it is and hopefully... I mean if this is a relationship that him and this other person are wanting to keep, hopefully, this whole situation doesn't really affect that.

Claire:
And at the end of the day, yes, it does get a little messy when you mix business with your personal life, but you can't help where you meet people, as well. And some people meet their partners at work. My mom and my stepdad met at work. I'm guessing that it was in their co-contract or something like that, that they just kind of crossed a boundary.

Cameron:
Yeah, that is the one thing that kind of turned me for a bit of a twist was saying that it was a consensual relationship. Why are you suspending a person for a year for a consensual relationship? And I just thought, well, maybe there was something more to that. But Claire makes a good point, maybe it's in the contract that you're not allowed to date anybody. Because there's also the hierarchy of if you're in a higher position and then if a person's in a lower position, you have that, I don't know what they call it, but they're able...

Brock:
A tier, sort of.

Cameron:
What's that?

Brock:
A tier of you're the coach and then...

Cameron:
Yeah, just a tier. And yeah, I don't know. But at the same time, Claire also said, you can't help where you meet people and can you help falling in love? A lot of people would say no, it just happens. So I don't know. Who is a business, as long as you're not taking it into the workplace and not fighting in the workplace and you're professional about it, who cares if you are both at work and having a relationship, as long as it's not negative when you're at work. So I don't see a problem with it if it is consensual, myself, but I don't know, I just think something more than meets the eye is here, because of getting suspended for a year for something consensual.

Brock:
Except my only additional add to that would be, and the word I was trying to come up with was hierarchy. In this case, if there is that and there would be between the head coach and the staffer, then it becomes murky waters of is there a conflict of interest. Is there any kind of bias going on? Which is why a lot of the times you see this kind of thing in contracts that this is not allowed because the business doesn't necessarily want it either, for that reason because they don't want somebody getting an advantage because you're in a relationship with the coach, in this instance. And so I get that, but to me, just you look at it and you say, well, that's why you got to read your contract with a fine tooth comb to literally understand what is allowed and what isn't. Because when you put your signature on a contract, if it is there, you are liable to then follow it.

Brock:
So there's a bunch of whole different things, and I've sort had a flip flop of ways that I thought about this when I first saw it. I thought, oh, okay, but the word is consensual. And then when I started to think about it, I sort of switched, which is why I brought it to you guys to see if you could help me unpack this a little bit better and see if we could come to a solution. But we all kind of have made decent arguments on both sides of this case. Cameron, do you have anything more?

Cameron:
No, not really. It just, it's that word of consensual to me that it should be allowed in the workplace, as long as it doesn't flow negatively into your work.

Brock:
And I think-

Claire:
I think that what they're worried about is the media essentially. I think that they're just trying to keep that kind of stuff and those types of relationships out of the media. And I think it weighs on the position that he is in. He's a head coach of an NBA team and I think that at the end of the day, they were just like, oh, okay, that was a bad choice. We'd rather that not be in the media.

Cameron:
But if you really love the person, at the end of the day, you would feel like, why do we have to break up or why? And does whoever is the breadwinner, does the other person end up looking for another job?

Claire:
Yeah, and exactly like I said earlier as well, I hope that this getting out into the media and the suspension and all that, hopefully, it doesn't affect what they want the outcome to be with the actual relationship as well.

Cameron:
Yeah, I just want to hear more from the coach or a little bit more about it. But everyone's really tight-lipped. I couldn't find anything more than it was just consensual and nobody else was saying anything.

Claire:
So yeah, there wasn't really any backlash or even any positive comments. It's just kind of dead silence after.

Brock:
And I think whether right, wrong, or indifferent, I think the assumption and what assuming does out there, folks, the assumption is that these types of relationships in this kind of situation is going to be a problem. And I don't believe that that's a fair way to view it, in my opinion. But there's got to be more to this story that we don't yet know. That is the end of our show for this week. I'd like to thank Claire Buchanan, Cam Jenkins. I'd also like to thank our technical producer, Mark Apollo. I'd also like to thank Andy Frank, who's the manager of AMI Audio. Tune in next week because you just never know what happens when you enter the Neutral Zone. Have a great week and we'll talk to you next week. Be safe. Be well.