Friday, August 10, 2012

Where there is smoke there is what?

Nothing happening on the New York Ranger prospect front while New York Islander prospect Ryan Strome looked good in Team Canada's 6-3 loss to Team Russia; that wasn't the big story of the day among the prospect worlds. This was:


For Immediate Release
Friday, August 10th, 2012

Toronto, ON - The Ontario Hockey League, (OHL), has levied fines totaling $400,000.00 against the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club and taken away three 1st round draft selections and two 2nd round draft selections from the Spitfires.

“In 2009 the Board of Governors of the Ontario Hockey League developed the OHL ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM which is designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the RULES and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur. The enforcement process is an integral part of the process to ensure integrity and fair play among the MEMBER TEAMS. One of the fundamental principles of the enforcement process is to ensure that those MEMBER TEAMS that are abiding by the rules are not disadvantaged by their commitment to compliance”, stated OHL Commissioner David Branch.

“The League conducted two separate investigations led by our Director of Security and Enforcement, and in considering all the facts, I was persuaded that the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club violated the League’s Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies. While the penalties may appear to be severe, the League and its Member Teams recognize for any such violations of our Recruitment / Benefit Rules and Policies, we must send a strong message to preserve the integrity of our League”, concluded Branch.

In addition to the fine, the Windsor Spitfires shall forfeit 1st round selections in the annual OHL Priority Selection in the years 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2nd round selections in the OHL Priority Selection Process for the years 2015 and 2017.

I can imagine that somewhere Paul Kelly the former head of College Hockey Inc. is saying "I told you so that the CHL was cheating." It sure looks that way based upon this press release but if that is the case then one has to ask what exactly did they do?

Cam Charron covering this for "Buzzing the Net" reports that "The OHL announced that they have fined the Windsor Spitfires for $400K in total fines for violating the League's Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies."

But the OHL did not list what the exact incident was that led to this rather heavy punishment so we are left with they are guilty of something but what?

The Spitfires responded with a swift denial of these accusations:

We are in receipt of the decision by the Ontario Hockey League regarding the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club and completely deny all accusations that have been put forward.

It is the team’s position that there is no evidence to support this decision, nor did the league follow due process or its own rules regarding procedural fairness in the making of this decision.

We will pursue all avenues of appeal regarding the decision made by the Commissioner, David Branch.

We are proud members of the Ontario Hockey League and will be vigorously defending the well-deserved and established reputation of our hockey club as an exemplary organization both on and off the ice, through the appropriate appeal process.

We will have no further comment until the appeal process is complete, in which we are confident will result in this decision being overturned

Now here is where I have a problem with this "announcement" as if the Spitfires did in fact cheat then the OHL needs to disclose which player(s) did in fact receive extra benefits.

By not disclosing then every player who wore a Spitfire uniform (incident reportedly took place in 2010) as according to Jeff Marek who tweeted this

So here is the 2009-2010 roster of the Spitfires and the 2010-2011 roster. If there are players who took extra money to play for the Spitfires then out of fairness to those who are innocent they need to be named.

Those players and their families who took the money are not innocent, they cheated as some refused to play for smaller market OHL teams forcing a trade. Others promised to play for NCAA schools then backed out of their letter of intent.

But worse of all is now that there is some kind of proof then now the entire CHL system needs to be looked at to see if there are other "cheaters." At least NCAA college coaches now have some ammo to fight the CHL's recruiting of their players with.

Game Action

Game two of the Canada-Russia Challenge was a win for the host Russian team as they doubled up Canada 6-3 to tie the series at 1-1. Of the New York Islander prospects who got to play, Ryan Strome (2011 1st) had a goal while Andrey Pedan (2011 3rd)did what he does best take penalties as he took 2.

2012 3rd rd pick defenseman Adam Pelech took a penalty that led to a Russian power play goal. Portland Winterhawk Ty Rattie had a goal for Canada while Brendan Leipsic took a double minor.

The series is headed to North America with 2 games in Halifax starting Monday evening. Hopefully for Canada they will remember where they left their discipline.

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