Here's a Deadspin article showing another aspect of the degree of douchebaggery of Jeremy Jacobs. And it makes me think of a discussion on social media shortly after the draft, on the topic of the poor crop of LHJMQ prospects lately, when some HockeyInsideOut members idly wondered whether the Canadiens and Geoff Molson did anything for the grassroots, to promote and develop participation in minor hockey. Everyone seemed to agree that this was unclear, nobody posted a response, and the matter lay unresolved, at best. The tone suggested that the Canadiens do very little if anything that we know of.
I was surprised at this, and disappointed, since two clear examples sprang to mind, one being the Canadiens annual construction and inauguration of refrigerated outdoor rinks, and the annual minor hockey coaches clinic. These events are well publicized, but apparently don't sink in to the HIO consciousness as good deeds by their beloved team. In fact, when the news release occurs, when the video of the event shows up on Habs TV, many wags will opine that the Canadiens are trying to draw attention away from (...) and the poor forecast of success as the playoffs approach. "It's media pablum", they'll agree.
Yet these are two endeavours that the Canadiens undertook at their own expense, and not as a contractual obligation, since we know that the team built its own rink at no cost to the taxpayers, and pays a tax bill every year that is higher than all other teams'. Meanwhile Jeremy Jacobs used public funds to build himself a palace to grandstand in, and welched on the community benefits that he floated as an inducement to get civic authorities to chip in.
The Canadiens have been reacting to climate change and declining enrollment in minor hockey by opening these rinks in various Montréal neighbourhoods and now around the province to stimulate participation, and targeting low-income families with programs and donations of equipment in cooperation with various partners.
The Canadiens also have been hosting a coaching clinic every year at the Nouveau Forum, where minor hockey coaches can rub shoulders with the pros, learn new tricks, develop relationships with others, and be invigorated and rewarded by the experience. We all know this, we all remember this, from the blowup Michel Therrien had at Rangers' assistant coaches watching his team practice during the playoffs, and then later having he and Alain Vigneault play nice and laugh about it as they host a Q&A in the stands.
There was a discussion today on whether HIO is filled with optimists or rancid with pessimists. Especially since it's putatively a Canadiens fan site, it's astounding how negative the slant is, it's the default setting actually. The Canadiens hold two of these community and hockey-development events that I can think of off the top of my head, but HIO concludes that at best it's unknowable whether the Canadiens expend any efforts in these areas.
Ever since he took over from a not-bad George Gillett, who didn't turn out to be the Michael Heisley I feared he would be, Geoff Molson has been everything we should hope for from the owner of our beloved team. He's been involved, yet hands-off, letting the hockey men handle that side of the business, which we could compare with Charlie 'Silver Spoon' Jacobs, who's in competition with Donald Trump Jr. for guys born on third base who think they hit a triple, declaring that everyone on the Bruins is "on notice" due to unsatisfactory performance. Or compare to Arthur Blank remarking that his players weren't tough enough and there'd be some changes.
Geoff Molson grew up among the Canadiens, he witnessed the legends first-hand, has personal memories of Jean Béliveau and Guy Lafleur and Bob Gainey. He plays beer league hockey. His sons play minor hockey. He is doing everything he can to restore our team to its past glory, sparing no expense, as is often seen by the one-way AHL-buryable contracts Marc Bergevin dishes out.
So yeah, if there is any doubt, HIO is the Assembly of the Negative Nellies, it's not even close.