U of A HIRING DOESN'T PASS SMELL TEST

Robin Brownlee
May 29 2012 11:07PM

A year ago, former Alberta Golden Bear Kris Knoblauch was considered a rising star among WHL coaches. Friday, Knoblauch was unceremoniously fired by the Kootenay Ice.

Somebody needs to ask if the University of Alberta's search for a new head coach for their hockey program – a job that will apparently go to former Golden Bear Ian Herbers – or how the school went about that process played a part in Knoblauch losing his job with the WHL Ice.

Likewise, did former interim coach and current Golden Bear GM Stan Marple, who had a hand in assembling the eight-member selection committee and is a long-time friend of Herbers, follow the required procedure and process in the hiring? Did Marple's handling of the hiring contribute to the decision by Kootenay GM Jeff Chynoweth to fire Knoblauch Friday, the same say he interviewed for the U of A job?

There are, to understate, legitimate questions about that.

WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

According to a report by Evan Daum in the Edmonton Journal, Marple flat-out denied on Sunday by way of a text message that Herbers, who was coaching with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL, was even a candidate for the job, which came open when Marple was bumped to GM..

"He has not been interviewed, nor did he apply … he is coaching in the AHL next year. Why would he come here?" Marple reportedly said in the text last Sunday after inquiries by Daum. Daum's full story is here. A follow up story about Herbers impending hire is here.

So how, given CIS and U of A protocols on hiring, could Herbers possibly get the job if he didn't apply? And why did Chynoweth fire Knoblauch, who led the Ice to the 2011 WHL championship and compiled a record of 82-47-7-8 in two regular seasons and a 16-7 mark in two playoff appearances, the same day he interviewed for the U of A job?

As Daum points out in his report, Kootenay and Chynoweth were apparently happy enough with Knoblauch that he received a contract extension that would take him through the 2013-14 season. Now, without any explanation from the Ice, he's out of work in Kootenay and Herbers is in at the U of A.

QUESTIONS . . .

Did Marple and the U of A seek and get permission from Chynoweth and the Ice to talk to Knoblauch about the job? If not, why not?

Was word that Knoblauch was a candidate and/or was going to interview for the U of A job leaked to Chynoweth and the Ice after the proper protocols about talking to him had not been followed?

Was Knoblauch, who played five seasons for the Golden Bears and won a national title in 2000, led to believe he'd have the inside track for the U of A job if he applied, only to find out that wasn't the case when Herbers showed interest in the position? Did Marple lobby for Herbers as a candidate?

Why did Marple lead Daum to believe Herbers wasn't even a candidate rather than simply decline comment on hiring process?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but they need to be asked. I imagine Daum will be all over all of the above with Marple and the selection committee soon enough, as he should be.

The way this process unfolded doesn't pass the smell test.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 James
May 30 2012, 01:10AM
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did you smoke a j before you wrote this? it makes no sense...

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#2 bmac
May 30 2012, 01:29AM
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Aliens...

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#3 CM
May 30 2012, 04:59AM
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Robin I remember when you used to be a journalist and not just a blogger who reports someone eles' story. Instead of all the questions why don't you get us some answers instead of trying to drag a proud program through the mud while wearing your PJ's in your moms basement.

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#4 godot10
May 30 2012, 06:26AM
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Why would a University have to ask permission of a CHL club to talk to one of there coaches?

We have freedom of association in this country. You can talk to whomever you want to talk to.

I'm sure the CHL teams have rules about tampering with each others personel, but a University is not part of the CHL, and it is not tampering to talk to one of their coaches.

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#5 book¡e
May 30 2012, 06:40AM
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What prompted Daum's investigation?

Edit: I missed that Daum was a reporter for the journal which would explain why he investigates things...

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#6 Colin
May 30 2012, 06:46AM
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@godot10:

I would think it would be general good form and non-douchery to clear it with the team the coach is under contract with despite the lack of association between CIS and the WHL/CHL.

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#7 db7db7db7
May 30 2012, 06:58AM
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So tired of listening to Stauffer talk about this, now you start blogging about it. Please people. They're called Oilersnation and Oilers Now. Not Edmonton sports or even Alberta sports. If there were enough UofA fans out there, they'd have their own show and blog. Actually, they probably do. So find them and blog on THEM.

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#8 Quinn McCashin
May 30 2012, 07:06AM
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CM wrote:

Robin I remember when you used to be a journalist and not just a blogger who reports someone eles' story. Instead of all the questions why don't you get us some answers instead of trying to drag a proud program through the mud while wearing your PJ's in your moms basement.

Answer's to tough questions don't just "appear" out of nowhere. I had no knowledge of this situation and thought this was a very interesting read. I'd much rather be delivered a story by a good writer about a developing situation then read your senseless "mud" throwing and utterly pointless comment.

For the record, Brownlee isn't saying he has all the answers- his header is "Questions". Questions that need to be asked on a story that hasn't been brought completely to light yet. I'm sure he will do some digging and try to come up with a set of answers. You, on the other hand, will likely continue working as a Walmart greeter and do nothing productive with your days.

A journalists' job is to best report a story with all of the reliable information given at the time. Keep your insensitive word-vomit to yourself

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#9 Joey
May 30 2012, 07:08AM
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Marple should of spoke to the Ice as it is considered a lateral move. Some people were also lead to believe the Marple offered the job to Cory Cross and Rob Daum before the posting Why does the U of A need a GM??? Was it to cover there mistake of signing Marple to an extension at Christmas before realizing he was not the right guy for the wad coach job?

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#10 CM
May 30 2012, 07:14AM
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Quinn my Issue with this story is that it isn't Robin's. It's Daums as published. Robin is commenting on a story from his couch (or his mom's basement I'm not sure which.) without any more facts than you or I.

Actually he probably has less facts tham me because Marple shops at walmart and I put one of those happy face stickers on his kids vest.

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#14 Bob
May 30 2012, 07:44AM
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Am I missing something? Why would a (arrows up)WHL coach want to move to a University program?

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#15 -30-
May 30 2012, 07:52AM
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Oooops! I thought I was on OILERS NATION website.

WTF?

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#17 Badger
May 30 2012, 08:09AM
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Why all the Bears haters? These guys put up like 3 or 4 articles a day.....a couple can be slightly off topic once in awhile.

You can only write about drafting Yakupov so many times before your brain goes numb.

Anyways, Knoblauch apparently isn't worried about money.....he made quite a bit when he sold out to the Yankees I'm guessing. Go Twins!

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#18 longbottom/P.Biglow
May 30 2012, 08:13AM
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A very big story here Robin. Props to you to get Daum's story to the mainstream, despite what the hockey geniuses around here think. The big thing here is-is there a corelelation(spelling) to Knoblauch getting let go and if there is then it's a crime.

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#20 Walter Sobchak
May 30 2012, 09:02AM
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What the hell is going on with that program? Once the pinical of CIS hockey has been dropping bad.

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#22 mayorpoop
May 30 2012, 09:42AM
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i am intriqued by this story and will follow it closely.

glad to read about it here as well.

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#24 Harlie
May 30 2012, 10:15AM
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This looks like a case for...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI6Y7is723A&feature=fvst

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#25 book¡e
May 30 2012, 10:31AM
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Robin, I just read the article written by Daum and I don't see any suggestion of impropriety there. All I see is the reference to the text denying that Herbers was about to be hired. While the denial went beyond the normal by emphasizing that 'he has not even interviewed', we see this kind of denial frequently in the NHL. Basically GM's lie to the public so as to keep their operations somewhat secretive. If Herbers decided not to take the job, then it doesn't hurt his reputation at his current position.

Is there more to the story that we are not seeing in the Journal article?

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#26 mayorpoop
May 30 2012, 11:17AM
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"You will be much more intrigued when Knoblauch steps forward to provide his version of what unfolded. When that happens, and it will, the poop hits the fan."

very punny RB, vey punny.

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#28 book¡e
May 30 2012, 11:51AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Yep, I agree, a simple 'no comment' or even a more vague (but still a lie) "There is no truth to that" type of comment is better than the specifics provided. Perhaps the GM of the Bears is less media savy than NHL GMs.

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#29 Oilcruzer
May 30 2012, 01:17PM
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This one caught me as well. I had (gasp) listened to the (other) station that Mr. Stauffer broadcasts from and had last heard the podcast where it was pretty cut and dry that Herbers wasn't a candidate...

...then the other shoe dropped.

It deserves the questions being asked.

In fairness to Ian Herbers, he doesn't deserve this story hanging out there either, on what should be a time to celebrate.

Chynoweth(s) (both) should clean up the mess here. Or maybe it's not their's to release and maybe Knoblauch should speak up... either way, someone knows something.

Good push RB.

(and to the uninformed, the game of hockey, at all phases of development, is intertwined and related. This has to be reported. This affects the game in general.)

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#32 nathan
May 30 2012, 04:02PM
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Brownlee,

Question stealth and misdirection as much as you like, but compare the bottom lines.

Herbers choose not to inform his team and Marple covered the tracks, which left Herbers free to stay or go.

Knoblauch told his team, got permission to talk to the Bears for one week and was pressed to sign an extension before he got short-listed and sh*t-listed.

So guess what approach the coaches will take next time? And buyers will fall into line.

http://gdrinnan.blogspot.ca/

"When the U of A posted its head-coaching position, Marple contacted Knoblauch, who expressed an interest but had one year remaining on his contract with the Ice.

Chynoweth provided Knoblauch with a one-week window to explore the situation, but then was led to believe that Knoblauch would fulfil the terms of his contract. Chynoweth later gave Knoblauch a one-year extension, taking him through 2013-14"

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#33 Mike
May 30 2012, 04:28PM
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Further to Robin's point on proper form in speaking to someone under contract:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interference_with_contractual

It's not just the person who breaches the contract who can be liable, it can also lead to a claim against the person who induced the breach in the first place.

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#34 Pouzar99
May 30 2012, 11:27PM
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This is an interesting story and Robin is right, Daum is all over it. He did the right thing by naming Marple as his source after realizing he had been betrayed by him. The commentary on here is usually fairly good but please drop the personal attacks on RB. I'm glad he raised it here. My prime interest is the Oilers too, but this subject deserves exploration, which is why Daum is writing about it, RB started this thread and Stauber is addressing it. I love the Golden Bears program but I also love the truth and want to know what happened.

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#35 In The Know
May 31 2012, 06:37AM
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Well done Eric and Robin. The Bears didn't need a GM! Ian Reade hired the wrong guy to Coach the Bears. They had to put him somewhere I guess!!! Pay him out and cut your losses. I thought clowns (Stan Marples) are in the circus, not running one of the most successful Teams in Edmonton History.

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