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EDITORIAL: Compassion and understanding key to overcoming COVID

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that taking the time to practise compassion and understand the issues that face us individually and as a society are the best ways we have to overcome what is happening.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that taking the time to practise compassion and understand the issues that face us individually and as a society are the best ways we have to overcome the crisis we are collectively experiencing.

There are a lot of things that are not going well for people. At the same time, there are those who are succeeding and those who have found resiliency during this strange period in our history. 

Things are very different from the "normal" we were used to.

Key to recovery is finding compassion for others, especially those we may not agree with. Disagreement can be the beginning of a greater understanding of another person's perspective and values, or it can be the cause of division and anger.

Take the recent decision by the Alberta Junior Hockey League to suspend and fine Canmore Eagles coach and general manager Andrew Milne for speaking to the media about a COVID-19 outbreak that affected him, his family, the team and the community.

While AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk and the board may have disagreed with Milne's candour and transparency, they made a choice to punish him for it. 

Claiming Milne's honesty brought disrepute to the league, the AJHL has actually done that themselves to a greater extent. The Eagles outbreak may have been a regional news story, but the league punishing Milne has made bigger waves in the news cycle and cast a light upon the league that makes it look secretive and vindictive. 

Whereas compassion and understanding in this situation would result in the league realizing that a junior A hockey team does not exist separate from the community that it calls home.

The Canmore Eagles are part of this community and this virus will spread and affect people regardless of who they are and where they are from. When an outbreak occurred in our community involving our friends and neighbours that are part of this organization, we were there to support them through it. 

Now to see the AJHL turn around with its heavy-handed approach to disagreeing with how much Milne shared publicly about a complex and stressful situation, is disappointing. 

The AJHL and its commissioner should realize that without their host communities, its teams are homeless. Without billet families and sponsors, there is no league. 

These are relationships that are built and kept healthy through communication and a big part of that is honesty. 

We applaud Milne for doing what was right and being honest with the community about what was happening.

Nothing about COVID-19 should be shameful. It is a virus, if you get it, it is not your fault. If it is spreading within an environment, that is its nature and treating it like it is some sort of dirty secret only further divides us. 

The Outlook has tried to approach coverage of the virus in our communities as storytellers and finding relevance for how it is being handled for our readers. We have not done a story on every single case or situation we have been aware of, as we do not have boundless resources either. 

Between our various communities, there have been approximately 725 confirmed cases. Each situation is unique and some are newsworthy.

But as we share these stories, it is not to further create fear and panic, but to understand risk and consequences. 

The AJHL certainly learned a lesson from the Eagles outbreak, changing its protocols afterwards. That should be a good news story in our books. 



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