The OHL's Niagara IceDogs are being sold to a Brantford hockey leader after 15 years of ownership by the Burke family.
Bill and Denise Burke announced the transaction in a statement. The sale to Darren DeDobbelaer is pending approval by the OHL's Board of Governors.
The move comes after general manager Joey Burke and head coach Billy Burke — sons of Bill and Denise and minority owners in the team — were suspended in April for inappropriate comments made in a 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. The team was also fined $150,000.
The Burke family bought the IceDogs from Eugene Melnyk in 2007 and moved the team from Mississauga to St. Catharines.
According to the Brantford Expositor, DeDobbelaer also owns the Ontario Junior A Hockey League’s Brantford 99ers and the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Brantford Bandits. He was involved in a potential purchase of the OHL's Erie Otters in 2015 before that club was sold to retired broadcasting executive Jim Waters.
The Expositor adds that it would be "unlikely" that DeDobbelaer relocates the IceDogs.