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View Full Version : Detroit Free Press: Coach Igor Shpilband fired from position at Canton's Arctic FSC



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cruisin
06-07-2012, 04:07 PM
It sounds like Marina didn't like the idea of Igor taking on new teams. Perhaps she threatened to take the Olympic teams and leave if the rink didn't get rid of Igor. Maybe she didn't feel they could both work at the same rink with different teams. Maybe she thought there would be too many teams and the ice would be too crowded. And who gets how much ice, and when?

That is not a valid reason to take a coach's teaching privileges away.


It bothers me that people jump to the conclusion that he did something unethical. There has been nothing to suggest that is the case. Coach/rink drama exists at every skating level. It just usually doesn't get played out in public.

And it usually doesn't result in a coach being made to leave a rink. Especially one of Igor's stature and success level. I'm not accusing Igor of doing anything unethical. I said something ugly happened or he was accused of something ugly. Something ugly could have been a knock down screaming match between he and Marina, at the rink. A scene like that could be reason to tell him to leave. That could violate rink policy. But, petty - he doesn't give us enough time and Marina having issues, does not violate anything. I simply cannot fathom the rink management getting involved in some pissing match between two coaches, unless it became a serious problem to everyone on the ice. And why side with Marina?

On the other hand, some people have questioned Igor's political ethics for a long time ;).

Golightly - exactly! They have to have something more than what they are claiming, to justify "firing" him.

nylynnr
06-07-2012, 04:10 PM
This one at least has a ring of truth to it, though it kind of contradicts the official story about the skaters asking that Igor be let go:

That was not an official story and it did not come from a skater. It was a remark made by the rink manager to J. Barnas of Detroit Free Press.

casken
06-07-2012, 04:12 PM
This is hilarious. How many variations of who knew when and who's decision it was are we going to hear?

MacMadame
06-07-2012, 04:12 PM
rmaap, because if things happened the way they are saying, then that's an illegal firing, no?
No. There is no rule in most of the US saying that there has to be a valid reason to fire someone. In most places, the employer can fire someone for any reason. If we're talking about a contractor instead (which is more common with coaches), most contracts have a clause that says that either party can terminate the contract at any time if it's not working out.


That is not a valid reason to take a coach's teaching privileges away.

They haven't. He's still an accredited coach with with PSA and USFS. All he got fired from was his job as director of the ice dance program at the Arctic Figure Skating Club.

attyfan
06-07-2012, 04:15 PM
Unless there is a contract, there is nothing illegal in a rink firing Igor for any reason whatsoever (unless it is an illegal reason ... like national origin). So he could have been fired for not giving his attention to the top teams.

Also, the skaters could easily be shocked or surprised by Igorn's firing even if they did approach rink management saying they had some problems. If the story is true, then it is possible that the skaters didn't expect more than management talking to Igor about it -- not firing him.

Golightly
06-07-2012, 04:25 PM
Unless there is a contract, there is nothing illegal in a rink firing Igor for any reason whatsoever (unless it is an illegal reason ... like national origin). So he could have been fired for not giving his attention to the top teams.

Ah, okay, that solves one doubt I had. Thank you.



Also, the skaters could easily be shocked or surprised by Igorn's firing even if they did approach rink management saying they had some problems. If the story is true, then it is possible that the skaters didn't expect more than management talking to Igor about it -- not firing him.

This scenario is more plausible. The rink manager played this so badly, though.

nylynnr
06-07-2012, 04:29 PM
Technically, Igor was not fired because he was not an employee. (Obviously, "fired" is the vernacular.) In essence, he was told by rink management "you don't fit with our plans." If the managers/owners of a rink don't want a coach teaching in their facility, for whatever reason (with the exception of racial, religious, sex, or sexual-orientation discrimination), they can settle accounts and refuse that coach access to ice, and that is that.

cruisin
06-07-2012, 04:30 PM
They haven't. He's still an accredited coach with with PSA and USFS. All he got fired from was his job as director of the ice dance program at the Arctic Figure Skating Club.

I didn't say USFS or PSA had taken privileges away. I said the rink did. It is my understanding that Igor's coaching privileges at Canton have been revoked. They did not just fire him from his skating director position. There is no reason for a rink to do that. If skaters choose to leave a coach and switch to another or leave one half of a coaching team and stay with the other, why should the first/other coach be removed from the rink? This happens every day. Sometimes the skater might feel a little uncomfortable around the "left" coach, but so what. A coach should not be prevented for teaching at a rink because some students choose to leave him or her.

I suppose it is possible that marina claimed that Igor was doing something unethical, by excluding her from teaching some of his new students. However, that is still an agreement between two coaches. the PSA might get involved in that, but rink management should not. The rink had to have a more serious reason for pushing Igor Shpilband out.

yunasashafan
06-07-2012, 04:34 PM
There is something that has been bugging me in the original article. O'Neill, the rink manager, supposedly has no problem with Igor coaching his own teams?


Zoueva, who is remaining at the Arctic FSC, said that Shpilband had created a "conflict of interest" because she said he wanted to work exclusively with two new teams. But O'Neill said that wasn't a factor in the decision.

“What John (Stansik) and I did today was all based on the kids," O'Neill said of Virtue and Moir, Davis and White, and 2011 world bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani. "Igor did talk about starting his own program, and coaching some of his own kids, and we didn't have issues with that. Our main focus has to be the top three teams.



So Marina is the one who pushed for Igor's firing because of the conflict of interest despite O'Neill not having a problem with it? If this is true, then I would believe it is a case of clash of egos. Marina maybe played the "three top teams" card to convince O'Neill??

rmaap
06-07-2012, 04:35 PM
It's all about money in the end. You walk into Arctic Edge and there are giant banners exclaiming it is the home of world class skaters. On the other sheet of ice you have a very strong program of young Freestyle skaters. That is based on a strong Learn-to-skate program. And it all sells ice and brings money into the rink.

The prospect of losing 3 Olympic teams and their coach is surely enough to get the rink management involved.

Stick around any skating club long enough and you will see plenty of instances when egos and politics force a coach out of a rink. Like I said, it happens at every level.


That is not a valid reason to take a coach's teaching privileges away.



And it usually doesn't result in a coach being made to leave a rink. Especially one of Igor's stature and success level. I'm not accusing Igor of doing anything unethical. I said something ugly happened or he was accused of something ugly. Something ugly could have been a knock down screaming match between he and Marina, at the rink. A scene like that could be reason to tell him to leave. That could violate rink policy. But, petty - he doesn't give us enough time and Marina having issues, does not violate anything. I simply cannot fathom the rink management getting involved in some pissing match between two coaches, unless it became a serious problem to everyone on the ice. And why side with Marina?

On the other hand, some people have questioned Igor's political ethics for a long time ;).

Golightly - exactly! They have to have something more than what they are claiming, to justify "firing" him.

Conga
06-07-2012, 04:43 PM
I agree with those who think it odd that the skaters themselves gave rink management an ultimatum, but I don't doubt that a coach would talk with management and say that if the rink doesn't don't do something drastic, they will lose all their skaters. It also doesn't seem likely to me that the skaters would ever talk to rink management about anything related to their relationship with Igor, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility for them to ask for assistance from rink or club management if there was disruptive behavior between the two coaches while on rink premises.

And if there is any evidence or allegation that something else is going on (harrassment, etc) won't US Figure Skating be required to deal with that? Isn't there something in place to handle these types of things?

Conga
06-07-2012, 04:48 PM
Unless there is a contract, there is nothing illegal in a rink firing Igor for any reason whatsoever (unless it is an illegal reason ... like national origin). So he could have been fired for not giving his attention to the top teams.

Also, the skaters could easily be shocked or surprised by Igor's firing even if they did approach rink management saying they had some problems. If the story is true, then it is possible that the skaters didn't expect more than management talking to Igor about it -- not firing him.

Not so sure about that because a skater's working arrangement with a coach is usually totally independent of the rink. In what way would a rink, either by renting the ice or providing coaching privileges through a fee, have a say in who or how much they teach anyone? There are probably guidelines each coach must agree to and maybe these are signed, but if it included too many specifics such as how much teaching, etc, there could be the risk of the coach no longer being viewed as an independent contractor and then management would have other issues. All in all, it's just weird!

carriemarie
06-07-2012, 04:53 PM
I didn't say USFS or PSA had taken privileges away. I said the rink did. It is my understanding that Igor's coaching privileges at Canton have been revoked. They did not just fire him from his skating director position. There is no reason for a rink to do that. If skaters choose to leave a coach and switch to another or leave one half of a coaching team and stay with the other, why should the first/other coach be removed from the rink? This happens every day. Sometimes the skater might feel a little uncomfortable around the "left" coach, but so what. A coach should not be prevented for teaching at a rink because some students choose to leave him or her.

I suppose it is possible that marina claimed that Igor was doing something unethical, by excluding her from teaching some of his new students. However, that is still an agreement between two coaches. the PSA might get involved in that, but rink management should not. The rink had to have a more serious reason for pushing Igor Shpilband out.

This is where my confusion lies as well- skaters leave coaches all the time- especially in the USA. Why can't he simply continue to teach his remaining students in Canton? Too "wierd" for teams that no longer work with him? It seems to be greater issues at the heart of the matter.

cruisin
06-07-2012, 05:13 PM
Not so sure about that because a skater's working arrangement with a coach is usually totally independent of the rink. In what way would a rink, either by renting the ice or providing coaching privileges through a fee, have a say in who or how much they teach anyone? There are probably guidelines each coach must agree to and maybe these are signed, but if it included too many specifics such as how much teaching, etc, there could be the risk of the coach no longer being viewed as an independent contractor and then management would have other issues. All in all, it's just weird!

To the best of my knowledge, at least around here, the only say that the rink has with regard to how much teaching a coach must agree to is group lessons. And that is only with regard to being considered on staff (which means the rink gets a smaller cut). Around here you must teach X number of group sessions a week to be considered an on staff professional. On staff, means a smaller % of what the rink takes and that the rink will put you in the rotation for recommending you to new students. I would think, in Igor's case, that they wouldn't even expect any groups from him. This is all just too weird!

I have never heard of a rink letting a coach go because they lost a student. And as far as Canton was concerned, if they were staying with Marina, the rink was not losing their Olympians. I do not believe the skaters refused to stay there if Igor was still there. These skaters have been around too long, they have changed coaches before, they are not that childish.


This is where my confusion lies as well- skaters leave coaches all the time- especially in the USA. Why can't he simply continue to teach his remaining students in Canton? Too "wierd" for teams that no longer work with him? It seems to be greater issues at the heart of the matter.

We'll never (probably) know what, but yes, there is more to this than we are hearing. FWIW, I am not the biggest Igor supporter. I do think his politicks were a bit...? But this just doesn't seem right, if everything that's being told is true.

Libertango
06-07-2012, 05:14 PM
This is where my confusion lies as well- skaters leave coaches all the time- especially in the USA. Why can't he simply continue to teach his remaining students in Canton? Too "wierd" for teams that no longer work with him? It seems to be greater issues at the heart of the matter.

ITA! It's so weird to be fired from the rink. IIRC Joubert and his first coach split in pretty bad terms and did not speak to each other for years yet they both remained at the same rink and "saw" each other every day.

edit : V&M to stay in Canton (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/other/ice-dancers-virtue-and-moir-to-remain-in-canton-mich-despite-firing-of-coach-157832285.html)


"Their coaching partnership provided an enjoyable and productive training environment and together we experienced great success on the ice," Moir said in a release. "We were obviously disappointed to receive the news that our coaching team of Marina and Igor will no longer be working together."

Zoueva will remain the dancers' coach.

"It was an honour to work with (Shpilband) every day, and we respect his dance knowledge and technical expertise," Virtue said. "We are very grateful to him for everything he has helped us achieve."