October 19th, 1998
"I just wanted respect. It's all I ever asked for," Real
Paquette said, by way of introduction.
No introduction was necessary. Paquette, one of the best
defenseman in Circuit Action Sports, was explaining how his contract
with the Renegades was terminated after last years playoff loss to
the Bluedogs. (read Issue #2 EVIL, Inc. "Real Life, Real Revenge")
"We finished in first place overall in the regular season. I played
as well as anybody on the team. Even my former teammates would agree
to that. Then it happened," Real said.
The Renegades beat the Killer Dwarves 6-3 in the first round
of the playoffs. This set up a three way fight for the title on May
5th between the Renegades, Heat and Bluedogs. Whichever team could
beat the other two on that night would be crowned champion.
It didn't happen. The first game pitted Real's team and the
Bluedogs. Tied heading into the third period, the Renegades fell
apart. There was very little offense from forwards Ian Foster, Joe
Lazzara and Paul Iacurto. Ronen Nathan's goaltending left much to be
desired. Defensive lapses by Chris Nadeau, Kamlesh Patel and Angelo
D'Agostino hurt. And yes, Real Paquette struggled. He didn't play
well. He didn't play well at all. The Bluedogs scored at will to
break open a close game. The season was over.
* * * *
As was noted in Issue #2 of EVIL, Inc., a team meeting was
held in which it was decided that Kamlesh, Ronen and Real would no
longer be Renegades. "Peter Knapp basically stood up and said that
changes would be made. Then he said that three players would be
replaced when the coming season started." Real said with little
emotion. The three were Kam, Ronen and Real.
"The problem wasn't with being taken off the team. Peter's the
captain. He's got choices to make," Real stated firmly. "I knew
there were other teams that would require my services. They know
that I can play and that I give everything I have in each game."
Real's problem was in the process, not the decision. "If Peter
told me privately that he didn't want me on the team that would've
been fine. But he held a meeting in which he got up in front of
everybody and pinned the blame on me and Kam and Ronen. They can
speak for themselves as to what they felt, but I know that I felt
like a scapegoat."
* * * *
During the off-season, Real hooked up with his former
Renegade teammates Kamlesh Patel and Ronen Nathan, to form a team
called the Dragons. "We have a lot in common, what with being shoved
off by Peter Knapp," said Real. "I look forward to returning to the
league but more importantly, I want to play against the Renegades."
"It's not about winning or losing. It's not about scoring and
gloating. No, it's about something more important. Respect." "I did
my very best for the Renegades and when things didn't work out I was
assigned the blame. Like I said earlier, that didn't bother me. But
this is a team sport. It seemed that the other players on that team
were held blameless because they knew the captain better."
Real's search for respect needn't exist. A shot blocking
machine with excellent vision on the floor, Real is respected
throughout the league. Had the Dragons not asked him to play, other
captains would have jumped at the chance to obtain an elite player.
The season will go on for Real. The anger at being released will
subside. But he will never forget. "The way I was released was wrong.
I'm happy where I am, but it was still wrong."
"A Bitter Paul To Swallow"
Paul Iacurto will play the remainder of the season with the
Renegades, putting an end to what had been a volatile situation.
It's official: Renegade captain Peter Knapp made the announcement
on Friday, October 17th, just before the Renegades took on the
For readers unfamiliar with events, Paul Iacurto walked out
on the Renegades during the pre-season. Paul did this for two
reasons: the Renegades poor performance in the Concordia Summer
League, and because Captain Peter Knapp refused to meet Paul's five
demands sent through e-mail.
Due to a long term verbal agreement made just a year earlier,
Paul was forced to play for the Renegades against his wishes. He was
promised a trade as soon as an acceptable proposal was made. Paul
waited. The season started. He was still a Renegade. And Paul,
despite performing his usual brand of brilliant hockey every game,
wasn't happy. He wanted out. It didn't matter where. Just trade me,
he pleaded. Anywhere.
Peter Knapp wouldn't hear of it. Paul is a valuable commodity,
Peter was quoted as saying to one captain. Trading him will come back
to haunt us, he told a fellow Renegade. No, it's better to have a
sad Paul, even a bitter Paul if necessary, than no Paul at all,
Peter's theory went.
It's not fair when people are forced to do things against
their will. That is one way to look at Paul's pain. Nobody ever said
life was fair. That is another cliched vision.
Perhaps Paul should have weighed the consequences of his
actions. He wanted a better deal with the Renegades. They had just
lost a playoff game at Concordia in early August. Paul wasn't to
blame. He didn't want cash. He wanted respect. Look, Paul, you're
important to the Renegades. That is what he wanted to hear.
That's all he wanted.
So he came up with a list of demands. To many, they were
trivial when they were reported in the pre-season edition of EVIL,
Inc. In all probability, they were meaningless to Paul as well.
A specific seat at a frequented pub, a request that only a certain
wrestling company be spoken of, and being mentioned first in all
articles concerning the Renegades. Paul's requests were a sign not
as much of discontent, but of confusion. He wanted to be shown
respect for what he had done for the Renegades, and what he would
continue doing. And then there were the demands that were not made
Do Paul's demands matter? Paul was looking for a sign of
commitment, of friendship when he made those demands. Money wasn't
an issue. It still isn't.
Paul Iacurto is playing hockey. That's the good news. Paul
is playing for the Renegades. That is something Paul would like