David Branch threw the book at the Windsor Spitfires today.
Today, the Ontario Hockey League commissioner fined the Spitfires $400,000 and took away three first round draft picks and two second round picks for violating “the League’s Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies.”
“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,” Branch stated in a release. “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.”
According to the release, the Spits must “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.” Ouch.
Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek tweets that the investigation began in 2010 and involves multiple players. It’s unknown which players were involved.
The Spitfires are, of course, appealing.
The timing of this announcement is quite interesting with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers currently suing the University of Michigan student newspaper for making allegations about recruitment violations. But, according to the Waterloo Region Record today, the league also looked into that case and found that no rule violations were made.
These are interesting times. The CHL vs NCAA drama isn’t going away anytime soon.