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. Binghamton Senators unveil new jerseys

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Will wear a different look in 2014-15.

  2. Ryan Smyth keeping busy as camp approaches

    Aug 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    ryansmythgetty Getty Images

    After playing over 1,000 NHL games, he’s enjoying the time away.

  3. Report: Devils sign Pelley, add depth

    Aug 30, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT

    Image (1) NewJerseyDevils_logo-thumb-250x243-22093.gif for post 15654

    RFA David Wohlberg joins Albany

  4. Devils’ Gomez considered retirement

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT

    Scott Gomez AP

    After spending portions of last season as a healthy scratch, he’s looking to revive his career in New Jersey.

  5. Will Jagr finally show his age next season?

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Father Time always wins … eventually.

  6. Trotz (kinda) downplays doubts about working with Ovechkin

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Washington Capitals Introduce General Manager Brian MacLellan And Coach Barry Trotz Getty Images

    ” … Until we go into the season and start playing real games, our relationship will be fine.”

  7. It’s New Jersey Devils day on PHT

    Aug 30, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Adam Henrique, Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder AP

    Can they shoot out of mediocrity?

  8. Looking to make the leap: Ryan Spooner

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Can he fit in well enough to embrace this opportunity?

  9. Poll: How should Boston handle its cap crunch?

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    marchboy Getty Images

    Should they make a move or play hardball with free agents?

  10. Nicklas Backstrom finally got his silver medal today

    Aug 29, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    backstromsilver

    “I’m sleeping with it tonight.”

  11. Report: Flames expected to try out Brookbank

    Aug 29, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators Getty Images

    The Chicago Blackhawks let him walk.

  12. Report: Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit removed from court docket

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Bertuzzi Moore

    Was schedule for Ontario Superior Court Sept. 8

  13. Video: Bruins participate in commercials to promote NHL 15

    Aug 29, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Patrice Bergeron AP

    A pair of hilarious ads to promote the game.

  14. Under Pressure: David Krejci

    Aug 29, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    David Krejci Getty Images

    Heading into a contract year, lots on his shoulders.

  15. Panthers’ Bolland to have jersey retired by junior team

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Dave Bolland Getty Images

    Scored 135 goals and 299 points in four seasons with the London Knights.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Harding (1561)
  2. C. Anderson (1560)
  3. B. Bishop (1548)
  4. C. Price (1491)
  5. M. Fleury (1430)
  1. D. Alfredsson (1413)
  2. A. Ekblad (1400)
  3. M. Staal (1373)
  4. J. Giguere (1331)
  5. D. Setoguchi (1253)