OHL indefinitely suspends Niagara IceDogs GM, coach for inappropriate texts

Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch suspended Niagara IceDogs GM Joey Burke and coach Billy Burke on Wednesday for inappropriate comments made in a WhatsApp conversation.

The two, who are both minority owners, and the team were also fined a combined $150,000. According to a release sent out by the league, the OHL launched the investigation after receiving transcripts of a March 6, 2022, WhatsApp conversation.

The league concluded from the investigation that the conduct of the Burkes was "prejudicial to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the League's Harassment & 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."

TSN's Rick Westhead previously reported that the language was "highly explicit and insulting" about a female colleague.

The Burkes are not eligible for reinstatement before June 1, 2024, the league said, and only if counselling has been completed.

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