Four life members of the BELC have been informed privately that the Executive Committee has taken action to deem them no longer in good standing. After speaking out against the sale of the Brampton Excelsiors, ELLA founders Dan Teat, Mike Hasen and Brian Beisel, as well as BELC and OLA life Member Dean McLeod have been told that they are no longer considered members in good standing of the BELC. This means they have lost the rights of members including access BELC records, the ability to vote at an AGM, the ability to put forth constitutional amendments and nominate Directors. The BELC has not yet responded to the members’ request for conformation or formally notified them.
As part of the ELLA, Dan, Mike and Brian have been raising public awareness of the situation surrounding the sale as well as fighting to keep the team here and pushing for an investigation into the legality of it, due to the lack of transparency and cooperation from the Executive Committee.
Recently Dean McLeod made the decision to step away from the BELC Executive Committee and spoke out against the sale and move of the team. He presented his case to the OLA alongside the ELLA. After serving decades as a director on the Board, he had been award the title of Life Time Director. He also served over 30 years as the OJALL commissioner, won championships with the Jr. A and Major Excelsiors as both a player and staff member not to mention the 55+ years he has given to the organization in every other capacity.
Not only are these actions not against any stipulation of membership in the BELC, but it is the opinion of the ELLA that it is the duty of all members, of any organization, to fight for accountability and answers from those entrusted to oversee its affairs. These members have been carrying out that duty.
These four combined have given well over a century of hard work and passion to Brampton lacrosse, have over a dozen Mann Cup titles and are in Halls of Fame at every level of the sport. Their names adorn multiple BELC awards and each was named as a life member for their significant contributions to the organization. They have played, coached and volunteered at every level of local lacrosse out of love not only for the game, but for the maroon and gold. This is to say nothing of the contributions from their families as well.
This move, if true, is only the latest in a line of questionable actions taken by the Committee since news broke in November that the new owner of the Major Excelsiors planned to move the team to Owen Sound. Starting with the revelation of a contract which shocked the lacrosse community not only because of its disregard for the history of the team or the will of the membership, but because it had been kept hidden, despite multiple requests, for two and a half years. Following this, the committee released an official statement proclaiming they would not make any effort to prevent this move and claiming that the President was properly authorized to sign the contract, despite strong evidence to the contrary. Around the same time, it was reported that all members of the Executive Committee had suddenly been made to sign confidentiality agreements.
Next was the dismissal of the elected Director Ron Evans, also a member of the ELLA, without any reason specified and without a say from the membership who elected him. It should be noted that Ron refused to sign any confidentiality agreement. Though one designated spokesperson did answer some questions following their official statement, the BELC has since gone completely quiet and has not commented on any of the concerns and challenges raised in regards to these actions.
It is the firm stance of the ELLA that these are not the behaviors of responsible, reasonable Directors who should be entrusted with the wellbeing of a community organization. They are actions clearly taken to hide facts, silence dissenters and suppress the power of honoured members who have spoken out against them. The Directors who should be subservient to the membership entrusting them responsibilities, are actively seeking to defy that very membership for their own protection. The actions of this committee need to be investigated. Change and transparency must be demanded by the BELC membership.
To the ELLA, this reported decision to demote life members for speaking out is not only reprehensible but completely self-serving. The status of BELC life member is not given lightly, these members have earned this honour. As members of the Brampton lacrosse community, we are gravely concerned about the future of the club if leadership continues on this path to establishing an oligarchy.
NOTE: Since publishing this article, the BELC has responded and confirmed these members are no longer in good standing.