IceDogs sold pending OHL approval
The Niagara IceDogs have been sold.
Pending the approval of the Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors, the IceDogs will be acquired by Darren DeDobbelaer.
DeDobbelaer is listed as the president and general manager of the Brantford Bandits of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Brantford 99ers of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League.
DeDobbelaer returned a text from BPSN seeking comment saying, “Thanks buddy pending approval.”
The Burke family bought the IceDogs from Eugene Melnyk in 2007 and moved the team from Mississauga to St. Catharines.
Rumours of a sale began to circulate in the spring. In early April, the day after the IceDogs were officially eliminated from the playoffs, Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch announced IceDogs general manager, team governor and minority owner Joey Burke and head coach and minority owner Billy Burke were 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.
The OHL said that the Burke brothers can apply for reinstatement into the league on June 1, 2024 but only if counselling has been completed.
Former IceDogs owners Bill and Denise Burke issued the following statement regarding the sale:
“After 15 years, it is with mixed emotion to announce that we have decided to move on. It was one of the greatest joys of our lives to be able to bring major junior hockey back to the Niagara Region and see our fan base flourish as you all embraced us. Our earliest memory of moving to Niagara was when setting up our first office on Queen Street, a lovely woman popped in and welcomed us to the area, but also added that we would be bankrupt in five years because “people in this community don’t support their sport teams.” Well did you prove her wrong! And not surprisingly, that same woman became one of our long-standing ushers until the day she passed away.
We are proud of the brand that we have built here, and the relationships that have been forged in the community. One of our main goals was to make a difference in the Niagara Region through our charitable endeavours and our hope is that in that we have succeeded.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and friendship over the years and look forward to seeing how far this young team will go! We will be cheering them on along side all of you!
With all our very best,
Bill and Denise Burke
GO DOGS GO!!!
When contacted for further comment, Bill Burke responded with a text saying, “No, but thanks. That’s from our heart as we move on.”
Bill Jr. and Joey Burke also politely declined comment for the time being but left the door open for a statement in the future.
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