Having to write this message is regrettable and painful to say the least. It is with heavy hearts that the ELLA is announcing The OLA has approved the move of the Brampton Excelsiors. In what would be their 150th year, the Excelsiors are moving to Owen Sound under the ownership of Joe Norton of Bug Juice.
We want to be clear. The ELLA’s stance is that the sale was in direct violation of the BELC constitution. The move should never have been approved. The sitting members of the BELC Executive Committee had it within their knowledge and power to protest both the sale as well as the move They have lied and refused to make any earnest effort to uphold their governing laws. The sale and subsequent move of the Brampton Major Excelsiors should never have happened.
On February 4th a letter was sent to all members of the BELC Executive Committee as well as OLA President Jim Bomhoff signed by a number of Excelsiors alumni, supporters and city representatives on behalf of the over 400 supporters who signed a petition calling for the BELC Executive Committee to unanimously resign. The letter detailed a number of instances in which the committee had violated the Constitution of the BELC.
It is the opinion of the ELLA that each director on that committee should have been knowledgeable of the articles of the constitution beforehand and thus been aware of these violations. Regardless, after receiving this letter, they were aware. At this point, knowing the President had signed a contract in direct violation of those rules, the Committee members should have immediately removed him from the board. They did not. When the announcement of the move was made, they could have rechecked the constitution, they could have reviewed minutes, they could have taken action. They did not. Over and over when faced with evidence and opportunities to make the right choice, they did not.
The BELC Directors and Officers showed they were completely complacent in both this sale and this move which has been nearly universally criticized by the lacrosse community. The ELLA was formed because we had lost faith in the ability and willingness of those in power to oversee the wellbeing of lacrosse in Brampton.
Independently, we brought all of this information and more to the attention of the OLA as they had yet to approve the move of the team, as required. Personal testimonies along with direct constitutional excepts and evidence were presented. We showed that not only had the BELC broke their own constitution, but the OLA’s as well. They had documented false information, they had not gotten the sale approved by the OLA and there is no record of the BELC appointing a privacy officer. All of these are issues specifically addressed in the OLA’s constitution. The OLA knew all of this and has the power to enforce agreements its members enter into . They could have held these people accountable, set an example and shown that they would root out misrepresentation for the betterment of the sport. They did not.
The ELLA is deeply disappointed in the governing authorities of lacrosse in Ontario. The BELC Executives showed a blatant disregard for all rules and authority in pursuit of something they claimed to be upset about and the OLA allowed them to. That the MSL would continue to push in favour of this deal speaks to their governance as well. As long as those at the top continue to disregard what is best for the foundation of lacrosse, the sport will continue to struggle.
We thank everyone who supported us, who put their own necks and reputations on the line and went to bat for us. We may be accused of making this about us. That we only made an issue of it when it was convenient for us, that we didn’t care for the past three years, that it is only because jobs are being lost and that we want some time in the spotlight. We promise that nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t ask you to remember the people who fought to keep our team here, but we do ask you to remember the people who sat by and let it happen.
The ELLA is not giving up. We love this sport, we love our city and we love the history of our team. Our organization will continue to explore the options available to us and make every effort to honour the Excelsiors’ history. The ELLA wants high level lacrosse in Brampton. We want to foster this sport and watch the next generation of lacrosse legends grow and play. The news is heartbreaking and surreal but the ELLA is about more than just this battle. We hope you will all continue to support us. Follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram to keep up with ELLA projects as well as news regarding the OLA and Excelsiors move. We have exciting plans and we’re hopeful for the future of Brampton lacrosse. The Excelsiors legacy will never be forgotten, despite those who have shown they simply do not care.
Details of BELC Constitutional Violations: