The Ontario Hockey League announced Wednesday the transfer of ownership of the Niagara IceDogs will be moved to majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer, alongside minority stakeholder Wayne Gretzky.
DeDobbelaer previously served as president and general manager of the Brantford 99ers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, as well as the Brantford Bandits of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Gretzky played in the OHL appearing in games for the Peterborough Petes and Soo Greyhounds before making a move to the WHA which would lead him to the NHL to play with the Edmonton Oilers and become the league’s all-time leader in goals and assists.
“I’m really excited about being back in junior hockey and have always loved it. To be partnered with a fellow friend from Brantford is so exciting for all of us and we can’t wait to get started,” said Gretzky in a statement.
The sale comes after IceDogs general manager Joey Burke and head coach Billy Burke were suspended after an investigation into inappropriate comments in a text message conversation that resulted in an OHL fine of $150,000 against the pair and the team.
The brothers are sons of minority owners Bill and Denise Burke, as the family bought the IceDogs from the late Eugene Melnyk in 2007, moving the team from Mississauga to St. Catharines.
Dougie Hamilton, Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Strome and Carter Verhaeghe have all played for the IceDogs in their careers before playing in the NHL.