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LETTER: Raiders coach misunderstood

'You are one of the best hockey coaches the St. Albert Raiders association has ever seen seen, and I truly hope you work your way through this mess.'
letter-sta

Re: "St. Albert hockey coach suspended for 'inappropriate conduct,'" The Gazette, Jan. 12.

I have multiple connections to the issue, both to the team and to the MacDonald family, and I feel that I may provide an alternative perspective on what I believe to be an atrociously one-sided article.

I am positive that the research for this article was done fairly, and without direct comments from Paul I understand how the article took the shape it did.

Before reporting on comments which were entirely unnecessary and hurtful, which Paul unhesitatingly owns up to, I believe it is important to understand all sides of a story. In this case, this understanding was never grasped, as was made clear from the direction the story took. From an outsider perspective, I hope people were able to conclude this themselves.

Paul declined to comment, likely to avoid unnecessary publicity. The entire bulk of the issue was founded on a single perspective.

I have had the experience of being coached by Paul MacDonald, and I am also good friends with his son, Tyler, who is also a coach on the team. I’m not someone to go public about my perspective, but the MacDonald family was understood so incorrectly it truly sickened me. Paul is one of the most kind-hearted individuals you will ever meet in your life, and anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t cracked his shell. On the surface he can come across as demanding (perhaps his decades of service in the Canadian military fostered that), but that’s simply his coaching method.

Anyone on the team, or anyone who has been coached by him in the past, I know within my heart would tell you the exact same thing. They would also tell you that his primary focus isn’t even on hockey, but on the development of the players into mature, strong-willed, hard-working, respectful young adults. The fact that he has been painted as anything but this on the front page of the St. Albert Gazette is absolutely absurd to me.

To Paul and his family, know that, like having crappy referees, you are being treated unfairly — the amount of people that you have touched in this community is far greater than the minority who paint you as this article did. You are one of the best hockey coaches the St. Albert Raiders association has ever seen, and I truly hope you work your way through this mess.

Kobe Belyea, St. Albert