Not so silent E - Welcome to Neepawa coach...Please protect our lunch money


By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

The Neepawa Natives have tracked down a new coach for the upcoming MJHL season. On May 21, the team announced it had come to terms with Jim Fuyarchuk to fill space behind the players during games.

Now you may have missed the announcement last week because the Toronto Maple Leafs blatantly stole our thunder by unveiling their new coach the day before. Worse yet, I had it on good authority that we had the inside track to signing Mike Babcock ourselves. The two sides just couldn’t agree on salary, in that Babcock actually wanted one. 

None the less, welcome to Neepawa coach. Here is a primer for what you can expect from the community: 

- There are two newspapers in town. One of them bothers to go to the Neepawa Natives games.

- Technically, there is also a radio station in Neepawa, though don’t be surprised if you never run into any of the on-air personalities at the local Co-op.

- You’ll meet people throughout the community who have strong opinions on what the team is doing wrong, even though they haven’t attended a game in a decade.

As for the MJHL in general, while you do have experience in the league with your assistant coaching stint in Wayway, things have changed a little bit since then. Allow me to  walk you through it. I’d say it’s best to compare  the MJHL to recess in an elementary school. You have certain cliques and groups that are present throughout the school yard. For example:

You have the Dauphin Kings. Everyone hates the Dauphin Kings around here, though personally I don’t know why. I just consider them the wannabe that spends more money than they have to keep up with the cool kids. Everyone laughs at them when they leave the room.

Then there’s the Portage Terriers. They’re the bullies who take our lunch money. We’re sick of not eating lunch Jim. Hopefully you’ll sock old Portage in the kisser and give us a shot at eating in the cafeteria. 

As for what Neepawa is in this school yard allegory, I have to say that we’re the poor kid everyone else picks on just because they can. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it simply is what it is. There are “have” and “have-not” teams in the MJHL. We’re one of the “have-nots”. In the school yard, the Neepawa Natives are the one that doesn’t have the name brand clothes or the fancy shoes, but makes do with the hand me downs. But within this quiet, unassuming kid who is struggling to survive, there is a heart and determination that you simply can not measure.

Success for this team has rarely been an easy goal, but a lot of people in the community still hold out hope that it’s an attainable one. It’s an endeavour that is not for the weak natured but for the strong willed. To be honest Jim, the journey you are about to tread upon is going to be extremely difficult, but hopefully, you are the person to guide us on that first step towards success, or in the very least a nice hot lunch.