October 18, 2005 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Windsor, Ontario, October 18, 2005 - The Ontario Hockey League, (OHL), has levied fines totaling $35,000 against the Windsor Spitfires and suspended the team\'s Coach and General Manager, Moe Mantha.
The fines, of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively, follow an investigation by the OHL into a "hazing" incident on September 9th on the team bus and an incident at a team practice on September 28th. ($25,000 is the maximum fine that can be levied by the League per incident).
The OHL believes that a lack of effective leadership by management was a factor in the two separate incidents.
"I conclude that the lack of leadership and what transpired were dishonourable and prejudicial to the well being of the League and its players," said OHL Commissioner David Branch.
As a result of the hazing incident, Mantha will be suspended for one year as General Manager and 25 games as coach. He will be suspended for a further 15 games from coaching as a result of the incident at the team practice, for a total suspension from coaching for 40 games.
The hazing incident occurred when the Spitfires were returning from an exhibition game in London against the Knights and involved a small number of players being told to strip and stand in the washroom at the back of the bus by other players. The identities of the players involved will remain confidential to protect their privacy.
"The OHL has a zero tolerance policy against hazing, our Member Teams know that, and that is why it is imperative that the League make a strong statement against it," said Branch. A copy of the OHL policy is attached.
"The League and its members are committed to providing an environment where each player joining the League is welcomed in a professional and dignified manner," Branch added.
The investigation of the two matters included discussions with Steve Riolo, owner and President of the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club, as well as Moe Mantha, two assistant coaches, two team trainers and 25 players.
"The League has a deep responsibility to all our players and their families to foster and provide a healthy environment for the development and well-being of all the young men in our League. We must never lose sight of our obligation in this area. Everyone connected with the Ontario Hockey League must learn and grow as a result of this experience," concluded Branch.