OHL suspends Niagara IceDogs coach and general manager after investigation into WhatsApp conversation

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has suspended the general manager and head coach of the Niagara IceDogs indefinitely, following an investigation into comments it says violated league policy. harassment, abuse and diversity.

OHL commissioner David Branch said Wednesday that Joey Burke, who is also the team’s governor, and head coach Billy Burke, who are both minority owners of the team that plays in St Catharines, will not be able to ask to be reinstated before June 1, 2024.

They and the team were also fined a total of $150,000, the league said in a news release.

The league says the investigation into their conduct was launched after the OHL received transcripts of a March 6 conversation on WhatsApp.

The league did not provide any details on the content of those transcripts, but said “it is the league’s position that their conduct is detrimental to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the harassment and harassment policy. ‘abuse/diversity of leagues’.

The OHL says the conduct “also goes against the OHL’s Onside program which emphasizes the importance of showing respect for women through actions and words.”

A spokesperson for the IceDogs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the Burkes seek reinstatement in 2024, the league says its commissioner will then determine whether they have followed “counseling and education” to ensure no further violations of league policies occur.

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