Ramblers executive outlines terms for Baker’s departure

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST – The off-ice drama for the Amherst junior A Ramblers hockey club continues.

In an open letter on Page 2 of today’s Amherst Daily News, the club gives an ultimatum that if any interested party or parties can bring the 43-year-old franchise out of debt by April 19, club president George Baker will step down.

In the letter, written by team secretary Barrie Doyle on behalf of the Ramblers executive, Baker will step down when the club receives $24,500 to cover its outstanding bills from the 2009-10 season.

Should that happen, an emergency membership meeting will be held within five days of Baker’s departure to elect an interim president as well as fill any other vacancies that should arise if other executive members decide to move on.

If not, Baker will retain his duties until the club’s annual general meeting June 1, when his term expires.

Last month, Baker said the team was $20,000 in arrears. Alisa Curtis was listed as the team’s secretary at the start of the 2009-10 season and Doyle was not a member of the executive.

Baker would not comment when reached Sunday afternoon, but did confirm that an offer remains on the table from a group of five investors to purchase the club for $1 after injecting $20,000 apiece into the franchise.

Baker has refused to identify who the group is comprised of, saying the group wishes to remain anonymous until after the membership decides if it will entertain selling the franchise.

Baker cites “persistent confrontational situations” in the letter as a reason for the proposal. On March 29, Baker shut down a bylaw meeting after just three minutes, saying there weren’t enough members present for a quorum.

Baker said 80 members were present and 82 were needed for the quorum. Several members showed up a few minutes late, but Baker did not re-open the meeting.

In January, former Ramblers executive member Wayne Corney held a meeting for those who had concerns with how the franchise was being run. Baker labelled them “a group of people backstabbing  everything we do.”

On Aug. 5, 2009, Baker told the Amherst Daily News he would be stepping down as president in October, citing other commitments, including running his shuttle business, operating the Amherst Stadium canteen and serving as a member of Amherst Town Council, as reasons for his departure.

He withdrew his resignation a week later, two days following an executive meeting to fill vacancies described as a “circus-like atmosphere.”

Baker has served as president the past nine seasons. The club was operating with a debtload of $150,000 before he took over.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Amherst Daily News, Amherst Town Council

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium

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  • Mike McFadden
    April 18, 2010 - 13:10

    I have not lived in Amherst for 10 years now and it still amazing to me how {The Powers That Be} in that town bend over backwards to keep George Baker in check. I have known george for 30 years and I believe that any town or city would be lucky to have george as one of its citizens,or even someone that cares about their community as much as he does.i expect that when he is gone or just loses faith with the treatment in his own community that is when Amherst will realize what a gem we had and lost {or should i say discarded}.{GEORGE BAKER FOR MAYOR}

  • shelley
    April 14, 2010 - 23:38

    I believe, that George has done a terrific job,as well as his family and all the volenteers and maybe some of the fans could help a little more, making it a community effort and not just a few persons effort. Good Luck George

    • illawaysbebarbie
      April 17, 2010 - 23:06

      no body that I know of has done as much for this hockey team than George Baker. So just wondering if everyone wants him to leave,, if they are ready to step in his shoes. This year the team sucked...... did absolutely nothing... was this foreseen by George?? don't think so.... If you want to step in his shoes.... and prove him wrong.... think he might welcome it....::))

  • Vince Kennie
    April 13, 2010 - 10:36

    Comments keep pouring in I wrote one prior to this but it did not get published maybe I did not do it correct. Well here I go again, all I have to say is that if anyone did the work that Mr George Baker and his family have unselfishly done over the past several years to keep the Amherst Junior A Ramblers in the MJAHL then I then would be happy to listen to their complaints. However it is obvious that no one has and their are some real jealous people in Amherst and the surrounding area who think they can do better(I believe not) having the experience in running an eight team Bantam league and an eight team gentlemens league as well as being president of leagues in my past 30 years or so as involvement in hockey, I volunteered to join George's crew to help the Amherst Ramblers survive. I am not patting myself on the back as there were times that I couldn't make meetings, games and fund raising events due to weather conditions, medical situations, etc, however having said this I did what I could. My congratulations to Mr George Baker for the excellent leadership he displayed in guiding the executive members in their volunteer duties. To the group that are not happy, well it may be your turn. I wish you all the best in your endeavors. THANK YOU

  • Jenny M.
    April 13, 2010 - 08:42

    I have also been watching this play out, as a volunteer and not family to either sides, it has been interesting to see how some people work. I started helping on a" when needed" statis in 2002. meaning whenever some of the execs. who were supposed to help did not show up, if avaiable I would help out. It always amazed me how in one moment people like Mr. Corney would act in one way to Mr. Baker in person, but when Mr. Baker's back was turned, the knives came out. This has been my observation for the last 8 years, so it has been no surprise that all this has come to a head. Mr. Baker, you can walk away with your head held high, you did what you were asked to do and helped save the team. Now you can go and watch the games and let Mr. Corney and Alisa do some work for a change. After all they certainly were able to enjoy the games from where I was sitting. I would say goodluck to them but I would not mean it.

  • sam cormier
    April 13, 2010 - 06:23

    lmao all you guys ffighting back and at each other all you hard core ramblers fans im guessing the ones that comment. you guys should be hatin who really was behind this all and wonder what kinda team you will actually have with out George and it most likely wont be a good one because there is gonna be tons of fans lost do to this and nobody is gonna do what that man did.. its funny how they think its just getting bad now wait til people see how things arent the same without geroge..same thing happen when we got a new coach that didnt reallly do much(in the way of his fans). alot of people stopped going....

  • MyTwoCents
    April 12, 2010 - 23:19

    All I have to say is this...George Baker, you do not deserve to be treated this way! These people have nothing better to do with there time...perhaps they should take up ping pong...

  • The Coach
    April 12, 2010 - 23:00

    Things are not good in rams land, hmm i wonder if they had put a better product on the ice this year would things be different? spending alot of money on players that dont produce, on coaching that seems only to look a far for the good players , are people really happy with coach crockers ways and big george wearing some of the heat , these are questions that the executive should look at , maybe george has wore out his days,and fresh blood may be healthy for the team,but the whole thing is dont blow all the heat in one direction as you are setting up the next leader for a hero / bum scenario. My hockey thoughts. The coach.

  • Barrie Doyle
    April 12, 2010 - 20:22

    The FULL TEXT of the recent "Notice to Members of the Amherst Ramblers Hockey Club 1997" is now posted on the Amherst Ramblers website. [ http://www.amherstramblers.com ] as it appeared in today's Amherst Daily News, page 2.

  • colin martin
    April 12, 2010 - 16:38

    George Baker is a good worker and a friend to all those that need him. Sometimes being in a position of authority a person has to make unpopular decisions. For him to volunteer all these years and to see a few people undermine all that work is rediculous. Every hockey club relies on play-offs to break even and it didn't happen this year. To come from $150,000 in debt nine years ago to zero(considering the play-offs) is remarkable. George maybe you should walk away, they won't be long coming after you to bail them out. Good luck, George

  • FED UP WITH THE BS
    April 12, 2010 - 16:17

    Peter Gilroy, you should be ashamed of yourself coming on here saying"selling tickets with no help the last 9 FREAKING YEARS". What a slap in the face for all those die hard volunteers that have donated their time and energy selling tickets for the Ramblers during this period.I think you should get your facts straight. This hasn't been a one man show as you would imply!!!

    • peter gilroy
      April 12, 2010 - 21:05

      ok fed up' name a non exec that sit and sold tickets all day at the mall'''''''im talking people in the member ship'its been a body of the same people since i have been involved ' its not a one man show' lots of people have helped this club from the trainer to the door people and i appreciate everyone that volunteers their time ' but i will tell you i will defend a man that works tirelessly in many many many different organizations . personal attacks like one of the beautiful people in this BS even came up to him at a game in another RINK and told him he was going to punch him in the face' nice ++++ i am shocked at what people have been saying' I used to be very proud of what we TRIED TO DO FOR THIS CLUB' NOW IT WILL FOR EVER BE TAINTED' i will no longer support this organization' i will volunteer my time to another.

  • wondering
    April 12, 2010 - 10:49

    Hard to believe that people who sit around doing nothing feel the need to judge. I bet none of you gave up all of your evenings and weekends to sell loads of tickets at the mall. I would often see George and his family there doing as much as they could to keep things going. Thanks for the hard work George, Danny, Peter, Kerry, and Kim. I ,for one ,appreciate all that you do to help. Will be interesting to see what happens if you guys leave !!!!

  • Losing Faith
    April 12, 2010 - 09:30

    Another perfect example of one mans arrogance, in stating " My way or no way ". This is no more than a desperate attempt to turn " failure " into some heroic political closing act. The facts are that he was told that he no longer had the support needed to remain as President at the last AGM and that the team would be in for another money losing year if changes were not made. However he refused to listen to his friends, supporters and advisors, " not back stabbers" and refused to put the team ahead of himself. However under more pressure, he did give his resignation only to retract it later, hell bent and centered on proving everyone wrong. Well it does not look like everyone was wrong, Mr. Baker you have stated all year long that you are going to finish your term and even more recently stated that you are going to let your name stand again at the next AGM. You have done it all year your way no matter what other have tried to say and you will be held accountable for this by the voting members. I will find it hard to believe that anyone is going to come forward to bail you out and let you off the hook. June 1st is only 51 days away and that is where your involvement with the team and the teams future lies. If you really care, than call the AGM sooner and let this " soap opera end ."

    • peter gilroy
      April 12, 2010 - 11:31

      its called being responsible ' the club was left in debt and George would like to clear it up before he leaves ' there are a few teams in this league that are in real trouble and may not be here next year' if we had the support of the member ship from the start we would not even be having these problems' not blaming anyone ' but the long hours of meetings and selling tickets with no help the last 9 FREAKING YEARS 'takes its toll.THIS IS NOT A NEW PROBLEM ' ITS BEEN THE SAME WAY FOR A LONG TIME' pretty easy to sit back and growllll' Wayne Corney seems to think he can jump right in and save the team' I do believe he was a part of the exec for a few years and could not event finish anything he started then. they have one heck of a lot of time and work ahead of them' i hope they are up for the task . we proved we could make this team work' now its your turn' good luck

    • ??????
      April 12, 2010 - 12:37

      Losing faith you never had, George is never my way or no way, some of the membership wants him and his family out, they are making sure the credtiors get paid. He didnt refuse to listen there was no IDEAS brought forward. He ALWAYS puts the TEAM ahead of EVERYTHING have u not noticed his family gatherings are always at a Rambler fundraiser? WHO COMES FIRST? accountable for what? keeping the team afloat? there is no need for a bail out I know george and the exects can do enough fundraising to get the bills paid. If u read the article some of the membership want him out early, this will be the only way. You were at all the witch hunts you know the hand full of membership wants this. you cant have an AGM until year end is here and the book work is complete, you know this you are just trying to keep the pot stirred.

  • get over it
    April 12, 2010 - 08:23

    the club has been debt free for 7 of the last 9' this was a bad year for the whole leauge' way to go baker and crew' to the rest'''GET OVER IT'''''''''''' 20'000 DOLLARS IS PEANUTS IN THIS LEAUGE. THAT IS THE AMOUNT LEFT OWING AND HIS TERM IS NOT UP. YETTTTT

  • know it all
    April 12, 2010 - 08:09

    George you have been the savour for the Rams but maybe it is time to let someone else give it a go , You are and will always be known as the guy that saved the Rams - I tip my hat to you sir and your family for all the years of hard work and dedication . thank you .

  • Greg
    April 12, 2010 - 07:39

    WHAT??? If I step up and pay your outstanding bills, George will walk away and you'll elect another president. That's ridiculous! If I was going to bail the team out of arrears, I would expect to be given the say in what happens next. I have been watching this story with interest for some time now, but I am a little concerned that the stories are being thrown together with bits and pieces of unrelated or incomplete information. I feel we're not getting the whole picture. The story states, "Baker has served as president the past nine seasons. The club was operating with a debtload of $150,000 before he took over." So 10 years ago, the team's debt was 150K ... what is it now? If it's greater than that, this shows that George has not done a good job keeping the team financially viable. If it's less than that, maybe there has been some good work done, and we are being disillusioned by the stories of in-fighting. I am NOT a fan of George Baker, and I would like to see him go, but how is anyone supposed to judge what the best solution is if we only see part of the situation. My first impression would be that private ownership is the way to go. Consider this, George Baker may not be the best leader ... but it takes two to argue! What is to say that a new president within the existing model wouldn't face the same problems as we are seeing today?

    • tired of all this
      April 12, 2010 - 08:19

      this comment was made so that you people who want him out put up or shut up, if you want him out now, other wise leave well enough alone so that the fund raising can continue to pay off the bills. George and the execs have done a great job raising money considering the lost games and playoffs.

    • Carrie Gilroy
      April 12, 2010 - 12:26

      comments at last meeting according to keith blenkhorn, there is money that people want to contribute as long as currant executive step asside, if this is true come forward and pay the bills that we the executive promised to pay for the team and we will step aside early as the hand full of voters want.

  • Hannah
    April 12, 2010 - 07:08

    Despite whatever the situation may be now, I think we owe George a great amount of gratitude for all of his hard work and dedication over the years. This proposal shows that he truly has the interest of the team at heart. The Ramblers club will not be the same with out you!!