OT: OHL disciplines Windsor for illegal player recruitment.

Submitted by JustGoBlue on August 10th, 2012 at 12:56 PM


For Immediate ReleaseFriday, August 10th, 2012 Toronto, ON -

The Ontario Hockey League, (OHL), has levied fines totaling $400,000.00 against the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club and taken away three 1st round draft selections and two 2nd round draft selections from the Spitfires.  

"In 2009 the Board of Governors of the Ontario Hockey League developed the OHL ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM which is designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the RULES and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur. 


The enforcement process is an integral part of the process to ensure integrity and fair play among the MEMBER TEAMS.  One of the fundamental principles of the enforcement process is to ensure that those MEMBER TEAMS that are abiding by the rules are not disadvantaged by their commitment to compliance", stated OHL Commissioner David Branch. "The League conducted two separate investigations led by our Director of Security and Enforcement, and in considering all the facts, I was persuaded that the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club violated the League's Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies. 

While the penalties may appear to be severe, the League and its Member Teams recognize for any such violations of our Recruitment / Benefit Rules and Policies, we must send a strong message to preserve the integrity of our League", concluded Branch. In addition to the fine, the Windsor Spitfires shall forfeit 1st round selections in the annual OHL Priority Selection in the years 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2nd round selections in the OHL Priority Selection Process for the years 2015 and 2017. ###


This, as far as I know, is completely out of left field, I don't think anybody ever expected the OLH to actually do anything about any of it's clubs that are widely considered to be dirty, with varying degrees of proof, but this is pretty huge, the OHL itself acknowledging at least the existence of dirty dealings in the OHL.  It may be a one off thing, or it could lead to a lot more of these, if the OHL finally decides to kind of clean house.  Something to keep an eye on at least. 

In regards to Michigan Hockey, who knows if it will help a ton, but it certainly doesn't hurt, one more strike against the OHL.  If this happens to a few more clubs and the illegal stuff gets reduced considerably, that might help Michigan quite a bit.  At the very least we'll find out what happens if you put NCAA and OHL on a more level playing field.



August 10th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

Seems maybe like Windsor could've been the worst and the OHL made a PR move in their direction. What incentive could the OHL possibly have to discipline themselves on a more strict basis? They have no higher moral authority (like academics for the NCAA) and they only stand to lose more players to other leagues by being stricter.

It does feel good though because I am so sure Windsor has messed with our recruits and players in the past


August 10th, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

They don't want the NHL to get involved. The CHL receives funding from the NHL as an official development league, and some NHL GMs had stated that they would not be pleased if their money was in some way being used for player recruitment instead of player development (technically I think they've been complicit with player recruitment for a while, and just aren't pleased with the amount of money being thrown around), and it's something that they would consider looking in to. The NHL really doesn't care that much whether players like Patrick Kane spend one year at London or Kitchener or Michigan before they make the show (relative to how much it means to London/Kitchener/Michigan to have a player like that for one year), so they'd likely bring the whole player recruitment system down if they got involved. The OHL Enforcement Program and this ruling are for the most part gestures to the NHL to make it look like they're actively policing themselves.


August 10th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

This is a big deal because it finally confirms what everybody knows: the OHL has teams that cheat. Windsor is actually a latecomer to the party, as Kitchener and especially London have been at this for far longer.

The penalties are steep for the O, and I'm impressed by them. I'll be more impressed when they go after the other teams.

This is a huge win for Slovin, a win for integrity, a win for college hockey, and a win for the significant numbers of teams in the O that don't cheat. If I am a Soo Greyhounds or Peterborough Petes fan I'm smiling today.


August 10th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

I think you're overestimating the amount of money at play. Kitchener plays in a 7,300 seat stadium and their franchise is valued at around twelve million. Fining a franchise 3.5% of its value is on par with fining the Wings about $1.1m, which would strike me as a pretty big fine.


August 10th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

Maybe a bit, but my memory of numbers is a bit fuzzy. And a search suggests that the Spits were purchased for $5 million. At any rate, the franchise value is one thing, but the percentage of annual revenue and/or expenses is another, and $400k is a big chunk of that. 


August 10th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

Incorrect. $400k wouldn't be much for the Tigers, Wings or a major university, but Major Junior clubs are small, low-margin businesses. They only have budgets and revenues of a few million per year. $400,000 is a lot of money in the OHL, even for a team like Windsor. These are harsh penalties.


August 10th, 2012 at 5:16 PM ^

Well, now in all likelihood, we know what really happened with Jack Campbell.

I have to wonder if the $400,000 fine isn't a bit of an eye-for-an-eye style punishment.  There were two highly regarded players who were committed to play NCAA, but then suddenly decommitted in favor of Windsor: Cam Fowler and Jack Campbell.  The amount that Fowler was allegedly offered was $200,000.  Extrapolate to Jack Campbell and you have your $400K.