Ontario Hockey League suspends GM, coach for online comments

TORONTO (AP) — Niagara IceDogs general manager Joey Burke and head coach Billy Burke have been indefinitely suspended by the Ontario Hockey League following an investigation into comments made in a group chat.

The OHL said the two men and the team have been fined a combined total of $150,000. The team is based in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The league said the investigation was launched after it received transcripts of a March 6 WhatsApp conversation.

The OHL did not provide details, but said Wednesday the conduct of Joey and Billy Burke violated the league’s harassment and abuse/diversity policy and ran counter to its Onside program, which the OHL says “emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.”

The league said Joey and Billy Burke will have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement no sooner than June 1, provided they successfully complete counselling and education. Both men are also minority owners of the team.

Last month, the OHL kicked Flint Firebirds president of hockey operations Terry Christensen out of the league for “conduct that is prejudicial to the welfare of the league” and cited remarks he made that violated the harassment policy.

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