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Old
11-28-2012, 02:02 PM
  #1
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WHL announces severe sanctions against Winterhawks

http://www.whl.ca/article/whl-sancti...nd-winterhawks

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CALGARY, AB. - The Western Hockey League announced today the disciplinary action which has been taken against the Portland Winterhawks franchise for a series of violations of the WHL Regulations.

As a result of a series of player benefit violations which have occurred over the past four seasons, WHL Commissioner Ron Robison has suspended the Portland Winterhawks from participating in the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft and the forfeiture of their first round selections in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 WHL Bantam Drafts. Should the first round selection in 2014 not be available due to a conditional trade, Portland will surrender their second and third round picks in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. The WHL also announced the Portland Winterhawks have been fined $200,000 and Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the balance of the 2012-13 season, including the 2013 WHL Playoffs.
Yikes!


Last edited by Royal Canuck: 11-28-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old
11-28-2012, 02:04 PM
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phillipsj89
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WOW! They will obviously appeal, but man. THATS NUTS

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11-28-2012, 02:25 PM
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As a Giants fan...

Seriously though, given the draft sanctions, I wonder if this is going to make them a seller at the trade deadline? They very well could keep the pace they're on and make another run at the title, but these sanctions pose a serious threat of returning to the likes of 2006-2009.

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11-28-2012, 02:36 PM
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Haha It happened to the spitfires over in the O and ALLLLLL the other fans were saying we're the only team when obviously were not, garuntee a lot of teams have payed players to come play for them I mean common be realistic.

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11-28-2012, 03:05 PM
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I am guessing there are still more teams to get this type of punishment when it comes to this sort of stuff.

Portland and Windsor is just the beginning i think.

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11-28-2012, 03:20 PM
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I thought the fines the NHL were giving out were extreme. It looks like the CHL is trying to make a strong example of these teams and stop this kind of practice from ever happening again.

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11-28-2012, 03:34 PM
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Statement from the Winterhawks:
http://www.winterhawks.com/article/w...ons-suspension

Quote:
Today the Western Hockey League has announced disciplinary action against the Portland Winterhawks for violations related to player benefits. The WHL has forfeited the team from participating in the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft and the forfeiture of the team’s first round picks in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The WHL also announced the organization has been fined $200,000, and that General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. Assistant General Manager & Assistant Coach Travis Green will assume Johnston’s duties on an interim basis.

What follows is a summary of the league’s findings, and a statement from Johnston:

The Winterhawks were found to have committed the following violations:

• A player contract signed in 2009, involving flights for the player’s family and a summer training program
• Over the last five years, seven families were provided flights 2-4 times per season based on financial need and their distance from Portland
• Twice in the last five years the team paid for two players to each have a one-week summer training regimen
• The Winterhawks provided a cell phone for its team captain for a period of three seasons

The WHL’s audit found no violations involving monetary payments made to players, their families or agents, or any violations related to the league’s educational packages.

“After fully cooperating with the league’s investigation, we were extremely surprised at the excessive nature of the sanctions, and we don’t feel they are in line with the scope of the violations we were found to have committed,” said Johnston.

“We believe that apart from recruiting trips and parents’ weekend, there is no prohibition in the rules governing flights for players’ parents, which were the majority of the infractions,” continued Johnston. “We are currently exploring our options on how we will proceed. Despite our objections, the league has made its decision, and our players will continue to pursue the goal of winning a WHL championship.”

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11-28-2012, 05:48 PM
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Pretty crazy stuff, It'll be interesting to see how the Hawks manage through 2017.

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11-28-2012, 06:05 PM
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Pretty crazy stuff, It'll be interesting to see how the Hawks manage through 2017.
They'll be fine.

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11-28-2012, 06:05 PM
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if you havent, check this out.

http://smallatlarge.blogspot.ca/2012...sanctions.html

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Portland sanctions
The much-rumored, much-speculated sanctions against the Portland Winterhawks for player benefit infractions came down today. Press release from the WHL here, but in summary:

Portland's head coach and General Manager, Mike Johnston, is suspended for the balance of the 2012-13 season, including playoffs
the Winterhawks are fined $200,000
Portland is "suspended from participating" in the first five rounds of the 2013 bantam draft
Portland forfeits their 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 first round bantam picks


(The 2014 first round pick was conditionally traded to Vancouver as part of a deal to acquire the rights to forward Rocco Grimaldi in July 2010. If Grimaldi reports to Portland for 2013-14 - which seems very unlikely - then Vancouver will get that 2014 first round pick and Portland will instead lose their 2014 2nd and 3rd round picks.)

To add more context to the picks, Portland has already traded its 2013 first, second, and fourth round picks. (The first rounder went to Seattle in the Marcel Noebels deal in January, the 2nd rounder to Edmonton in the Cam Reid deal in January, and the 4th rounder to Prince Albert for Charles Wells in September 2011). It seems safe to assume that those teams will get to keep those picks.

So what Portland loses in the 2013 draft is only any picks in the first five rounds that it still had. Those would be its own 3rd and 5th round picks, plus a 2nd round pick they had acquired from Everett in exchange for allowing Gerry Davidson to become Everett's General Manager.

So in total, they lose 2013 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round picks, plus 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 first round picks. The loss of all those first round picks is obviously a "holy crap" moment as this is a severe punishment that will have an impact on the team for the next 10 years, through the 2022-23 season as the 2017 first round pick could have played in the league through that season.

IMO the inability to participate at all in the first 5 rounds of the 2013 draft is pretty severe on its own as it means Portland will not get any of the top 110 1998-born players in the WHL talent zones. In fact, Portland does not have a 6th round pick either (they traded it to Vancouver for Brendan Jensen) and if they finish at the top of the standings this year their 7th round pick will be at the bottom of the round, so it could actually end up being that they get none of the top 150 or so players, although I suppose they will be allowed to trade for more 6th round and later picks. They're going to be really behind every other team in the league in this age group which will be a major obstacle in 2016-17 and 2017-18 when those players are in their 18 & 19 year old seasons.

Those punishments affect the team in the future (although losing the picks makes it difficult for the Hawks to trade for any impact players at this year's trade deadline too); this year's punishment is losing their coach and General Manager for the balance of the season. Portland is currently 2nd overall in the WHL (and first overall in winning percentage) so this is no small thing for them either. The Hawks have already announced that assistant coach / assistant G.M. Travis Green will take over both roles on an interim basis. Green has been there in those roles for a few years and knows the jobs so perhaps this won't have much effect on the team on the ice, we'll have to see.

After all this, everyone was, I'm certain, wondering WHAT THE HELL DID PORTLAND DO, EXACTLY to deserve these harsh penalties?

Well, the WHL didn't say and it sounds like they won't say. But the Winterhawks did issue a release of their own shortly afterward, in which they list the things they say the WHL found them guilty of:

A player contract signed in 2009, involving flights for the player’s family and a summer training program
Over the last five years, seven families were provided flights 2-4 times per season based on financial need and their distance from Portland
Twice in the last five years the team paid for two players to each have a one-week summer training regimen
The Winterhawks provided a cell phone for its team captain for a period of three seasons

The Winterhawks also stressed that "the WHL’s audit found no violations involving monetary payments made to players, their families or agents, or any violations related to the league’s educational packages." In other words, they did not make under-the-table payments to players and they did not offer any players educational packages above the league standard. And it seems the initial reaction to a lot of people upon hearing what the Hawks were found guilty of doing is to say that the league's punishment seems very excessive, based on this.

To me, the 3rd and 4th points above are trifling. Yes, they are against the rules and deserve punishment but these are not major benefits being provided which would call for punishment of this kind of severity.

It's the first and second points which may hold the reason behind the WHL's actions. Basically it boils down to the Hawks having provided free airfare 2 - 4 times per season for the parents (and perhaps siblings, it's not clear what "families" may entail) of eight players over the last five years.

In my view, if the provision of these flights to allow their families to come to Portland see them play several times a year was the perk that convinced these eight players to sign with the Winterhawks, then the punishment is entirely justified. That's eight players - a third of a roster - that the Hawks would not have had on their team otherwise. We don't know who these eight players were but in looking at Portland's roster over the last few years, it doesn't seem very likely that these were all marginal players since the team didn't have very many of those. So, if they got these players through these illegal perks and other teams didn't get players like that because they were playing by the rules, then this entirely justifies the punishments IMO.

Getting quality players that they would not have otherwise gotten has the obvious effect of improving the team on the ice (and they did make the WHL Final the last two years), which helps create the "winning environment" the team has been talking about for a few years and that has the snowball effect of helping persuade other players, even those legally recruited, to come to the team. So if this is what happened, then its effects are significant, far beyond whatever the cost of those airplane tickets was to the team. It deserves harsh punishment.

BUT, on the other hand, if Portland provided these flights just as a nice thing to do for its players, and the provision of the perks had no impact on the players' decisions to come to Portland (ie, they had already signed a WHL contract before the free flights were discussed) then the punishment seems very excessive. The team did not receive any benefit from providing the flights in that case. They already had the players. Obviously it's still a rules violation and deserves punishment, but not to this degree.

Based on what the WHL has done, I'm leaning towards them having evidence of this being more of the former situation and less of the latter. But we need more information about the offences Portland has committed in order to really judge what has happened here. It's unfortunate that the WHL has decided it's not going to say anymore about the situation because I think they owe it to the fans of Portland and everyone else to explain exactly what went on. How can we judge whether the league dealt with this appropriately and how we should feel about the league's integrity if we don't know the details of the situation?

And a last thought; regardless of what the final outcome of this situation is - whether the details ever come out or whether Portland has the punishment reduced on appeal (I assume they are allowed to appeal?), it it possible that the toughest punishment Portland will receive from this is the damage to their reputation. How will this impact them at the box office? On the recruiting path?

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11-28-2012, 08:03 PM
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They'll be fine.
I really dont think so.

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11-29-2012, 06:00 AM
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Haha It happened to the spitfires over in the O and ALLLLLL the other fans were saying we're the only team when obviously were not, garuntee a lot of teams have payed players to come play for them I mean common be realistic.
That simply isn't true. I'd bet St John Sea Dogs have been doing it as well in the Q

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11-29-2012, 08:42 AM
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I really dont think so.
Im not sure how anyone can say "they'll" be fine. The basically miss out on an entire year of prospects this year. I mean, some are saying they might trade some pieces now, just to get some 2nd's and 3rd's in 2014, or 2015. I have a feeling they will appeal, and maybe the WHL laid this penalty with that in mind. You know, the old, start high in hope of reaching somewhere in the middle.

With all this said, it kind of taints my thoughts of the winterhawks. Last year that 7 game series with the Blazers and the Oil Kings were amazing, but now, it seems like portland cheated to get there.

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11-29-2012, 09:37 AM
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That simply isn't true. I'd bet St John Sea Dogs have been doing it as well in the Q
or Quebec, maybe even Moncton...

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11-29-2012, 05:09 PM
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or Quebec, maybe even Moncton...
Yup. Many do, few get caught. It's tough to prove.

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Old
11-29-2012, 11:15 PM
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or Quebec, maybe even Moncton...
Quebec i think is an obvious target. The whole way Angelo Esposito (should have gone number 1) got drafted into the Q reeks imo.

Moncton and Saint John i wouldnt think do any wrong doing. They drafted high and made good trades to get young 16 and 17 yr olds to get their players (similar to what the oil kings did).

Also, Moncton never really had any top offensive players. I think in 10 years their best home grown forward was Steve Bernier.

Where it smells for me are the top players who already say publicly that they are comitted to the NCAA. Then out of the blue the players rights get traded to a team like Portland and then a couple days later that top player magically changes their mind and plays in the CHL.

That kind of behavior by the usual suspects always make me raise an eyebrow.

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11-30-2012, 09:42 AM
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So do they have to wait to see is who is not drafted then they can approach players ???
What happens if players approach them? or can they ?

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11-30-2012, 09:46 AM
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So do they have to wait to see is who is not drafted then they can approach players ???
What happens if players approach them? or can they ?
Players can't approach teams. That's the whole point of the draft. Players enter the draft then get chosen by the teams.

The problem is that the elite players use the threat of the NCAA to get to a team of their choosing. That makes the draft kinda of a joke imo. A good example of this is what Nathan MacKinnon pulled a couple of years ago.

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11-30-2012, 11:59 AM
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Nathan MacKinnon -???


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11-30-2012, 05:19 PM
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That simply isn't true. I'd bet St John Sea Dogs have been doing it as well in the Q
St.John, Quebec and London would be the next 3 places that could get caught for the same reasons.

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12-01-2012, 09:24 PM
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Nathan MacKinnon -???
Refused to play for Baie-Commeau after being drafted by them and threatened to go NCAA unless he was traded.

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12-03-2012, 01:51 AM
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To have a source to follow this story, as more details come out seemingly everyday, head over to http://www.facebook.com/FreeMikeJohnston and whoever is running that page is posting updates.

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12-03-2012, 02:06 AM
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Also, here is a good article on cbc that talks about the situation. I think it's a pretty fair article, and asks important questions. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opin...unishment.html

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12-03-2012, 01:16 PM
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I really dont think so.
Depends. Losing that MANY draft picks will definitely hurt them, but they have establisted players both on their roster and young talent to be competitive until, perhaps 2016+.


Last edited by S E P H: 12-03-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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Old
12-03-2012, 03:07 PM
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Depends. Losing that MANY draft picks will defintiely hurt them, but they have establisted players both on their roster and young talent to be competitive until, perhaps 2016+.
The thing with the Hawks recently is they have been trading away draft picks like candy. They have been able to get players on their team that have been undrafted, or picked up late in the draft. This will effect them of course, but to what extent? Stay tuned.

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