The Ontario Hockey League has fined the Niagara IceDogs $250,000 and stripped the club of its first-round selections at the 2019 and 2021 OHL Priority drafts for what the league calls a "violation of player recruitment policies."
The investigation by the law firm of Lax O'Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP was requested by the league. As a result of their findings, the OHL levied $250,000 in fines and took away the club's first round draft selections in the 2019 and 2021 OHL priority selection process.
"The League takes our commitment to our players and their player experience very seriously, which includes ensuring a fair and competitive on-ice experience among all teams," league commissioner David Branch said in the release. "In order to maintain the integrity of this player experience and competitiveness within the league, it is critical that all clubs operate within the league recruitment guidelines.
"When a club ignores these guidelines, significant sanctions are required."
The club is expected to appeal after being slapped with the fine and sanctions.
The OHL has had to impose heavy sanctions to clubs in the past. Back in 2012, the Windsor Spitfires were fined $400,000 and stripped of five draft picks for recruitment and player benefit violations. The penalties were reduced to $250,000 and four picks after the Spitfires met with the league and accepted that violations occurred.
Once the announcement was made on Friday, some fans took on social media to ask with the London Knights would be penalized as well. It remains to be seen if more clubs will be investigated.