This was not the intended next chapter on the CHLPA series here at Coming Down the Pipe but I can't possibly ignore the breaking news on Halloween. According to reports from TSN's Dave Naylor (which has to be seen to be believed) , Joe Warmington of QMI Agency and Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, the very identity of CHLPA spokesperson and board advisor Derek Clarke is up for debate.
Apparently Clarke, who has not yet returned a text message from a couple of hours ago, will appear on TSN Thursday to prove he is not who some claim him to be - a noted con-man named Randy Gumbley. The stories above detail the crimes committed in the past by Gumbley.
The air of mystery is palpable and all will be revealed. It's like wondering what the members of KISS looked like during the height of their popularity in the 1970's. Or the secret identity of Spiderman. Maybe it will be more like the unmasking of a villain in an episode of Scooby-Doo.
Whatever, it definitely sets up an incredibly important day for the fledgling CHLPA. If the "union" hopes to hold onto any sense of credibility it may have, and there are many who suggest they never had any to begin with, Clarke's TV appearance tomorrow has the potential to end the "union" before it really begins.
|Can YOU identify Derek Clarke?|
My inbox has been stuffed with feedback and I still plan on sharing those comments with you in the next day or two (firstname.lastname@example.org). But one thing I have been mentioning in each chapter of the series is that I am not a part of the CHLPA and by writing the series, am neither endorsing nor condemning them, just shining light on an area that was previously cast in shadow.
Dave Naylor makes mention in the video that he's spoken with Derek Clarke three times in the last ten days or so and that he feels strongly it hasn't been the same person all three times.
Many of us junior hockey media folks had floated the idea in early October that "Derek Clarke" may have been a pseudonym being used by more than one person - various emails with his name attached to them appeared to have been typed by different people because of the writing style, grammar, etc.
However I do want to point out that, and this isn't meant to be "support" but just a sharing of information/opinion... I have spoken with "Derek Clarke" at least 5 times beginning with him calling the TEAM 1260 radio station at the conclusion of The Pipeline Show on September 25th. I chatted with him a couple more times in early October, off the record, and then again on the record on both October 25th and 27th. Those latter conversations have been the talks where all the quotes appearing here on the blog lately have come from.
That's it. Thursday should be a pretty interesting day for junior hockey fans, players and media. It will be a critical one for Georges Laraque and the CHLPA.
Oh and in case you missed it, apparently someone sabotaged Georges Laraque's car yesterday too. I would assume that a police report has been filed over the alleged incident but there is no mention of it in the "press release" on the CHLPA's Facebook page.