IceDogs fined $250K, stripped of draft picks for recruiting violations

TORONTO – The Ontario Hockey League has fined the Niagara IceDogs $250,000 and stripped the club of its first-round selections at the 2019 and 2021 OHL Priority drafts for what the league calls a "violation of player recruitment policies."

The OHL announced the discipline against the IceDogs in a release Friday but did not provide details of the team’s offence, which the league said was discovered after a third-party investigation by the law firm Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP.

"The League takes our commitment to our players and their player experience very seriously, which includes ensuring a fair and competitive on-ice experience among all teams," league commissioner David Branch said in the release. "In order to maintain the integrity of this player experience and competitiveness within the league, it is critical that all clubs operate within the league recruitment guidelines.

"When a club ignores these guidelines, significant sanctions are required."

The league has cracked down on teams for similar transgressions in the past. In 2012, the Windsor Spitfires were fined $400,000 and stripped of five draft picks for recruitment and player benefit violations. The penalties were reduced to $250,000 and four picks after the Spitfires met with the league and accepted that violations occurred.

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