Braves co-owner covers outdoor hockey fine

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Dustin Traylen admits he was fed up and looking to pick a fight.

The general manager and co-owner of the Brockville Braves covered the fine of a Barrhaven outdoor rink volunteer who was ticketed by Ottawa bylaw services last week. Among the COVID-19 measures recently enacted by the city is a ban on playing or practising team sports – or using related equipment – on outdoor rinks. Skating is permitted; hockey is not.

In a Twitter post on Thursday, Jamie Leppard indicated he had received a ticket for $125 “while wearing boots and carrying my stick. I was passing the puck to my 9 year old son as he was practicing shooting. We were on the ice alone.” Leppard went on to say that he was preparing to flood the ice at the Weybridge Park rink.

Traylen read Facebook posts by Leppard’s wife Shauna about the incident and decided to act.

“I felt compelled to get in touch with her,” Traylen said in an interview. “There’s no way I’m letting this go. It hit a little bit close to home.””


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Traylen, who has a young family of his own, indicated he was friends with Shauna back in his hockey playing days as a teenager and probably hasn’t seen her in 20 years.

In its reporting of the outdoor rink issue, CTV Ottawa quoted a statement from the city’s bylaw services director that indicated: “The charge was issued following a proactive patrol of the park, which officers have noted has been a problem area of late.”

The volunteer “was previously warned Jan. 20 that the use of hockey sticks and pucks are prohibited on outdoor rinks at any time.”

Traylen finds it “disturbing” that bylaw officers appeared actively to be seeking violations at an outdoor rink.

“The man was just out there helping out as a community volunteer and he brought his kid and gets a $125 ticket for his troubles,” he said.

Traylen described the outcome as “unfathomable” and “unacceptable.”

The Recorder and Times reached out to Shauna for comment on the ticket her husband received and the gesture made by Traylen but had not received a response when this article was published.

The Braves GM also takes bigger issue with what he sees as government overreach when it comes to restrictions on specific activities such as outdoor hockey as well as across-the-board curfews and lockdowns to try and deal with the pandemic.

“What are we allowing to happen here?” Traylen asked.

Traylen said he has yet to see scientific evidence that clearly shows that playing hockey outdoors – or indoors, for that matter – poses a significant risk of spreading the virus if basic preventative measures are followed.


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In terms of Jr. A hockey, Traylen pointed out that the 12-team CCHL to which the Braves belong went through a four-month period of practices and developmental scrimmages and recorded “zero” cases of COVID-19. Junior leagues such as the CCHL and Jr. B EOJHL that includes the Brockville Tikis are waiting to see if they are going to be able to move forward with a condensed regular season and “meaningful” hockey this winter and spring.

“We’re hopeful, certainly, that there’s going to be enough racetrack ahead of us to do something positive,” CCHL commissioner Kevin Abrams said on a recent Junior Hockey Magazine podcast. “We’re just waiting for an opportunity to play.”

Most arenas in Southern Ontario have been closed since Christmas as a result of provincial lockdown and stay-at-home orders, the latter of which is slated to continue until Feb. 11.

Some junior teams such as the Braves and Tikis have been allowed to have up to 50 spectators in the stands for the no-body-contact scrimmage; other clubs have played in empty arenas because municipalities have banned spectators due to COVID. Traylen acknowledged there are some junior teams in the region that are really hurting because of the restrictions, not unlike many businesses that are finding it difficult to stay afloat.

“There’s no exit plan for any of this,” said Traylen, who admitted that he is fed up with the extent to which provincial governments are making rules and changing them as the pandemic continues.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” he added. “This has to stop. I’m pushing back.”

The Saskatchewan government recently announced a bailout package totalling $4 million for major junior and Jr. A teams in that province.

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