Skip to content

WHL Commissioner: Winterhawks massive punishment reflects “unprecedented number of violations”

Nov 29, 2012, 11:25 PM EDT

Photograph by: Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post Photograph by: Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post

On Wednesday the WHL Portland Winterhawks were hammered by the league for a “series of player benefit violations which have occurred over the past four seasons.”

Portland won’t be allowed to make a selection in the first five rounds of the 2013 bantam draft and they will forfeit their first-round picks in the following four drafts.

On top of that the organization has been fined $200,000 and GM/head coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the rest of the 2012-13 campaign, including the playoffs.

Johnston said that he was “extremely surprised at the excessive nature of the sanctions,” but WHL commissioner Ron Robison defended the league’s decision in a statement released Thursday.

The WHL asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to launch an independent investigation into the Winterhawks after the league learned that the team had contravened WHL Regulations by agreeing to an undisclosed player agreement. PricewaterhouseCoopers determined that there were 54 violations with 14 players over the past five seasons.

“We believe the sanctions are not excessive given the repeated and systemic nature of the violations,” Robison said. “The independent investigation discovered an unprecedented number of violations.

“It is the responsibility of each WHL Club and General Manager to be fully aware of the WHL Regulations and to be in compliance at all times. These sanctions are necessary in order to protect the overall welfare and integrity of our League and to preserve a level playing field for all of our member Clubs and our players.”

The Winterhawks claim the violations included providing flights for family members of their players, giving their team captain a cell phone, and paying for two players’ one-week summer training regimen twice in the last five years.

(Photo courtesy of Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post)

Latest Posts
  1. Blue Jackets coach likes team’s confidence in postseason

    Apr 21, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    Todd Richards, Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson AP

    They’re a young team that isn’t intimidated.

  2. PHT Morning Skate: Blues, Avs, Ducks look to go up 3-0

    Apr 21, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT

    Matt Calvert AP

    Columbus and Dallas host playoff games for first time in years.

  3. Video: Kings’ Richards spears Sharks’ Couture

    Apr 21, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.06.58 PM

    This has happened a few times in these playoffs.

  4. Video: Bad blood continues to brew between Sharks and Kings

    Apr 21, 2014, 1:28 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two Getty Images

    This one could’ve gotten uglier than it did.

  5. Avalanche’s Duchene (knee) expected to skate Monday

    Apr 21, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT

    Matt Duchene Getty Images

    Patrick Roy: “We’re going to be very smart about when he’s going to come back.”

  6. Video: Mike Brown hit sends Kings’ Toffoli into Quick

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT

    Jonathan Quick AP

    Just another game between these two California rivals.

  7. Shocking: Lightning coach isn’t happy about disallowed goal

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT

    Jon Cooper, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Malone AP

    Jon Cooper straddles the line between snarky and careful.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (Game 2)

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One Getty Images

    Kings hope to avoid two straight years of 0-2 first-round deficits.

  9. Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Tampa Bay’s captain managed to return later in the game.

  10. Trotz says goodbye to Nashville with full-page ad in newspaper

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT

    Barry Trotz Getty Images

    Classy gesture after 16 seasons with the Predators.

  11. Video: Habs take 1-0 lead in just 11 seconds

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.

  12. Emery states case to remain in Flyers’ net (if Mason can play in Game 3)

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers - Game Two Getty Images

    He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.

  13. Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    Justin Florek, Tomas Tatar AP

    Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (3923)
  2. M. Duchene (3365)
  3. B. Bishop (2735)
  4. D. Backes (2696)
  5. E. Malkin (2459)
  1. O. Palat (2429)
  2. R. Getzlaf (2380)
  3. S. Mason (2305)
  4. H. Zetterberg (2189)
  5. F. Andersen (1983)