IceDogs coach, GM suspended, fined along with team $150,000 (updated with comment from team owner)
IceDogs head coach Billy Burke, along with general manager Joey Burke, have been indefinitely suspended and, together with the team, fined a combined $150,000. An investigation was launched into their overall conduct following the OHL receiving transcripts of a March 6, 2022 WhatsApp conversation.
Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch today announced Wednesday Niagara IceDogs general manager, team governor and minority owner Joey Burke and head coach and minority owner Billy Burke have been indefinitely suspended and, together with the team, fined a combined $150,000. An investigation was launched into their overall conduct following the League receiving transcripts of a March 6, 2022 WhatsApp conversation.
“Based on the results of the investigation, it is the position of the OHL that their conduct is prejudicial to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the League’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy and also runs counter to the OHL’s Onside program which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words,” read a statement posted on the OHL’s web site.
“Obviously this is a very sad day for the Burke family,” IceDogs owner Bill Burke said. “We will have more to say in the coming days. We would, however, like to thank everyone that has reached out today with their overwhelming love and support. It means more to us than you could possibly know.”
Joey and Billy Burke will have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement no sooner than June 1, 2024. At that time, the Commissioner will assess whether they have successfully completed counselling and education to ensure that there will be no additional violations of league rules, policies, or expected conduct.
The IceDogs dropped a 6-3 decision at Sudbury Tuesday and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. They sit 20th overall in the 20-team OHL. They play again Saturday in Peterborough. Their next home game is Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. versus Kingston.
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