The B.C. Football Conference has suspended Westshore Rebels head coach Charly Cardilicchia for three games for comments he made in the Kamloops media last week.
Cardilicchia was responding to the cancellation of last Saturday’s game in the Interior city against the Broncos due to poor air quality caused by the wildfires in the province.
“As far as we’re concerned, this has been an absolute freaking joke,” Cardilicchia, told reporter Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week.
“The whole thing is pretty Mickey Mouse.”
Cardilicchia was upset the game was not cancelled until after the Rebels’ bus boarded the ferry and was already on the Lower Mainland heading to the Interior.
Cardilicchia told Kamloops This Week the aborted trip cost the Rebels organization $7,000, which will not be reimbursed, and added: “They messed up. They f—— up. They’re the f—— idiots that couldn’t get out of bed until 11 o’clock and tell us the game was cancelled.”
Cardilicchia did not return calls or text messages Wednesday.
Rebels president Rob Lervold, however, released a statement: “The Westshore Rebels respect the B.C Football Conference’s decision regarding the three-game suspension of head coach Charly Cardilicchia. His personal comments were in direct violation of the Coaches Code of Ethics and in no way were they reflective of the opinions of the Westshore Rebels. Effective immediately, [defensive co-ordinator] Shane Beatty will be the acting head coach.”
Cardilicchia will miss Saturday night’s game at Westhills Stadium against the Vancouver Island Raiders (2-1), the Sept. 8 rematch at Caledonia Park in Nanaimo against the Raiders, and the Sept. 15 game at Westhills Stadium against the Broncos (0-2).
The game against the Broncos will be worth four points because last Saturday’s scheduled game in Kamloops will not be rescheduled.
“We have to take into account, and look after and protect, the image of our league and not be painted into a difficult corner,” said BCFC president Tyler Mclaren, by phone Wednesday, regarding the suspension.
Mclaren said Cardilicchia’s previous conduct was a factor in the suspension. The league sanctioned Cardilicchia and made him apologize, but did not suspend him, for disparaging remarks he made in June on his personal Facebook page against other teams and coaches in the BCFC.
“There was a misstep before this and a previous history,” said Mclaren, about the decision to suspend Cardilicchia, for what amounts to nearly one-third of the 10-game regular season.
“This conduct cannot be condoned and is not acceptable.”
Meanwhile, the league has announced an air-quality protocol regarding any future cancellation or postponement due to the wildfires. Starting this week, it will be decided by 1 p.m. on the Friday before, whether a game will be played or not on the Saturday. Ironically, considering the Rebels situation, that will save teams busting their travel budgets.
Mclaren was asked if the Rebels’ travel situation last weekend could have been handled differently, and he said: “This is so unprecedented that we are in uncharted waters. Nobody is perfect and we don’t have a crystal ball to know whether it will suddenly be clear at game time. We are making the best decisions we can. Everybody wants to play. But the safety of the players has to come first. We will cancel 10 minutes before game time if we have to.”