This just in: Georges Laraque is definitely done with an organization that might have only existed on paper.
Those who were dubious from the very beginning about what was behind a union for junior players (that would be funded by a surcharge on tickets, passing the cost on to fans) can skip the victory lap. It is unbecoming. Let us try to stick to the Coles Notes of the craziest story in major junior hockey since (shudder at the mere mention) the days of the 2000 Barrie Colts.
— Laraque told Sunaya Sapurji that Glenn Gumbley, brother of convicted fraudster Randy Gumbley, works for the CHLPA. A consultant also disclosed that a "Glen Clarke" and a "Derek Clarke" seemed to use the same Montreal area code phone number and CHLPA e-mail address.
— Laraque told TVA Sports (en français) that he is resigning as the group's executive director: "Our reputation has been destroyed." Derek Clarke, as TSN reported, as resigned as spokesman. (Wait, who said the group would be better off without those elements?)
— Update: In his exit interview with Mirtle, Laraque still managed to spin a couple half-truths about the CHL and its education package:
"The two things I said was that, one, the 18 months they have [to use their education plan] is unacceptable. It should be four years. They [the CHL] know that every player that plays junior hockey wants to play a couple years in the ECHL or the AHL to try and make it. It's unacceptable to have 18 months because you know they're not going to take that scholarship. The second thing is, the NCAA... If they change the bylaw, then the players could go there. They won't lose their eligibility, but the [CHL] are blocking it." (Globe & Mail)
If "every player wants to play a couple years in the ECHL or the AHL," then how come CIS rosters are dotted with players who were fully capable of making those leagues but opted for Canadian university hockey? Also, the CHL does not dictate to the NCAA about who is eligible for college hockey. Please.
— Update: The Toronto Star tracked down Derek Clarke. Its three-reporter team also got ahold of Glenn Gumbley, who said, "Randy Gumbley is in no way officially part of the CHLPA whatsoever. Never has been, never will be." (Note the use of the qualifier officially, one thinks.)
There were no answers as to identity of "Glen Clarke," but the less notorious Gumbley acknowledged that he has been concealing his identity,"I realized going into this that my name was definitely going to be a problem."
That's a great way to win the trust of 1,400 potential members.
— Randy Gumbley did not return phone calls from TSN's Mark Masters. No one answered the door at his home when Masters inquired.
— As per Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald, the law firm that was handling a certification push for the five Alberta-based WHL teams withdrew their counsel effective immediately. The soonest the vote could have been held was Dec. 4, but after this week, the players are probably going to be dubious about who they are electing to represent them.
— Within hours of Odland's report, TVA reported the firm that was handling the certification push in Quebec followed suit.
— The Halifax Chronicle-Herald's Willy Palov said that Yarmouth Mariners defenceman Joshua Desmond withdrew his complaint that he was not paid minimum wage while playing for the Mooseheads last season.
Desmond faced a strong backlash. He should be spared that; his quote that "the CHLPA has notified me of all these things I didn't know about, it made me think about what I should do" is pretty revealing. It reads like an impressionable young man was used to advance an agenda.
— More players who would have had to approve of a union expressed skepticism. Saskatoon Blades winger Josh Nicholls told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, "It's kind of been a shady way they've been going about things. We're just going to keep focused about playing our game."
Of course, as this blog has said all along, there surely are instances when a players' association could have helped ameliorate a situation where a player had an issue. Just ask Gregg Sutch. Or Tampa Bay Lightning draft choice Matthew Peca, the Ontario native who wanted to join the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts in 2011. Peca could not get not through OHL waivers, which he needed to do in order to play in the QMJHL; as a result, the CHL lost him to Quinnipiac University.
What happened Wednesday and Thursday cannot seriously be called a collapse. That would require that something was actually built. There's more than a shadow of doubt that that ever happened.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.