The OHL lowered the boom on the Niagara IceDogs on Thursday, citing violations of league policies “including the Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment Protection and Prevention Policy and our Code of Conduct.” . . . According to an OHL news release, it brought in an “independent third-party investigator” after receiving allegations of policy violations. At the team, IceDogs owner, governor and general manager Darren DeDobbelaer was ordered not to speak “with players or others concerning the subject matter.” . . . The investigator discovered that two players, G Joshua Rosenzweig and D Landon Cato, “participated in serious violations” of policies, “including but not limited to Physical Maltreatment and Aiding and Abetting respectively.” . . . As well, DeDobbelaer was found to have violated the league’s confidentiality directive. . . .
As a result of all this, the OHL fined the Ice Dogs $100,000 and stripped them of their first selection in the 2024 OHL draft. . . . DeDobbelaer was suspended from acting as GM for two seasons, to June 1, 2025. . . . Rosenzweig and Cato “have permanently lost the privilege to participate in the OHL.” Both players have one season of junior eligibility remaining. . . .
Cato, who turned 20 on March 31, had one goal and two assists in 21 games this season, his third with the IceDogs. . . . Rosenzweig, who turned 20 on Feb. 27, got into 33 games, going 5-21-4, 5.73, .868. . . .
This same franchise, only under different ownership, was fined $250,000 and lost 2019 and 2021 first-round draft picks in February 2019 after being found to have “violated certain league player recruitment policies.” Those penalties were reduced to $150,000 and one first-round pick about a month later.
In April 2022, Joey Burke, then the governor, GM and minority owner, and Billy Burke, the head coach and also a minority owner, were suspended and they, along with the team, were fined $150,000 after the league investigated a WhatsApp conversation. It was found to violate the OHL’s “harassment and abuse/diversity policy and also runs counter to its Onside program, which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.”
The Burke’s parents, Bill and Denise, were the majority co-owners at the time. They sold the franchise to DeDobbelaer in July. He also owns the junior A Brantford 99ers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the junior B Brantford Bandits of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. . . . The IceDogs finished 12-47-9, easily the OHL’s poorest record, this season.
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
The Winnipeg Ice, who won the Eastern Conference playoff title on Wednesday night, don’t yet know who will provide its opposition in the championship final. But the Ice knows when it will play its next games. . . . The final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is to open in Winnipeg, at the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus, with Games 1 and 2 on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13. . . .
The Ice, the Eastern Conference’s top seed, completed a sweep of the No. 2 Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday in the Saskatchewan city. . . .
In the Western Conference final, the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds broke a 3-3 tie with three straight goals and went on to an 8-4 victory over the host No. 2 Kamloops Blazers last night. . . . The Thunderbirds now hold a 3-1 edge in the series. They’ll play Game 5 in Kent, Wash., on Saturday night.
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
THURSDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Seattle (1) at Kamloops (2) — F Dylan Guenther scored three times and added an assist to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to an 8-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Seattle holds a 3-1 lead in the conference final with Game 5 scheduled for Kent, Wash., on Saturday night. If needed, Game 6 would be played in Kamloops on Monday, with Game 7 back in Kent on Tuesday. . . . Last night, the Blazers erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, only to have the Thunderbirds score three straight goals to snap a 3-3 tie. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (3) scored for Seattle at 13:32 of the second period for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Jared Davidson (8) made it 5-3 at 5:36 of the third, and D Bryce Pickford (2) upped it to 6-3 at 8:13. . . . Davidson’s goal was his 21st career playoff score, giving him a share of Seattle’s franchise record with F Scott Eansor (2013-17). . . . Guenther, who leads the WHL playoffs with 14 goals, opened the scoring at 3:09 of the first period, gave his guys a 3-1 lead with 1.7 seconds left in the period, and completed his hat trick at 14:19 of the third period for a 7-4 lead. . . . F Reid Schaefer (4), who also had three assists, and D Kevin Korchinski (1) also scored for Seattle. . . . D Olen Zellweger (11) scored twice for Kamloops, erasing a 3-1 Seattle lead at 1:12 and 11:21 of the second period. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (7), on a first-period PP, and F Dylan Sydor (3) had the Blazers’ other goals. . . . The Blazers thought they had tied it 3-3 at 2:38 of the second period on a PP goal by F Logan Stankoven, only to have it waved off as Zellweger was penalized for goaltender interference. Kamloops This Week (@KTWonBLAZERS) tweeted: “Zellweger called for goalie interference. Overhead replay shows he was pushed into Milic. That is a bad call.” . . . Kamloops was 1-for-6 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic kicked out 36 shots to record the victory over Dylan Ernst, who stopped 33 shots. . . . Kamloops remains without D Logan Bairos and D Ryan Michael. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Jordan Gustafson. There is speculation that he was injured during celebrations following Seattle’s OT goal to end Game 2. . . . Stankoven finished with two assists and now leads the playoff points derby, with 29, one ahead of Zellweger. Guenther’s 14 goals lead the league by one over F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice. D Ben Zloty of the Ice as a WHL-leading 20 assists, one more than Stankoven.
THINKING OUT LOUD — Example No. 34,591 of why you shouldn’t pay any attention to the three stars at hockey games: F Leon Draisaitl scored the Edmonton Oilers’ four goals in a 6-4 loss to the host Vegas Golden Knights, but wasn’t one of the three stars as selected, apparently, by the Vegas media. Instead, the all-knowing media members went with, in order, hometown players F Ivan Barbashev, F Chandler Stephenson and F Mark Stone. . . . Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) is wondering: “Has Tucker Carlson signed on to work for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign yet?”
The BCHL, which announced this week that it is leaving Hockey Canada at the end of this month, met with on-ice officials via Zoom on Thursday night. As someone who was on the call told Taking Note: “It seems that it’s a real pissing match. The BCHL is very disappointed that Hockey Canada won’t allow its officials to work in Hockey Canada leagues after Sept. 30. . . . Insurance will not be an issue as the BCHL will have their own that they claim will be as good as or better than Hockey Canada’s. . . . Not sure about the refs, but linespeople will be getting $150/game, up from $80.” . . . You can bet that we’ll be hearing more, a whole lot more, about all of this in the days and weeks to come. Yes, it’s going to be an interesting ride. . . .
In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads evened their series with the Sherbrooke Phoenix with a 5-2 victory on Thursday. They’ll play Game 5 in Halifax on Saturday afternoon, with Game 6 in Sherbrooke on Sunday night. The winner will meet the Quebec Remparts in the championship final. . . .
In the OHL, the two remaining series, both of which are tied 2-2, will resume tonight. . . . The Sarnia Sting, who lost the first two games in London and then won twice at home, are back on the road to face the Knights tonight, with Game 6 back in Sarnia on Sunday afternoon. . . . Meanwhile, the Peterborough Petes will visit the North Bay Battalion tonight and then they’ll head back to Peterborough for Game 6 on Sunday night. . . .
Former WHL G Kyle Dumba has joined the NAHL’s Aberdeen Wings as goaltender coach. Dumba, the brother of Matt Dumba, a former WHL defenceman who has spent nine seasons with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, has his own coaching business based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. . . . Kyle, 25, is from Calgary. He split 42 regular-season WHL games over five seasons (2013-18) with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.