‘Good news for us’ Ram­blers pres­i­dent pleased win over Val­ley Wild­cats re­stored after ap­peal

The Amherst News - - SPORTS - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­rell.cole@amher­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ram­blers are get­ting back the win the Maritime Ju­nior Hockey League had taken from them for al­legedly us­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player - but is still facing other sanc­tions.

The Ram­blers orig­i­nally de­feated the Val­ley Wild­cats 4-3 on Oct. 13 at the Amherst Sta­dium. The win set off a se­ries of events that led to the sus­pen­sion of Amherst coach and gen­eral man­ager Jeff LeBlanc and a fine of $1,000 levied against the team. The win was also changed to a for­feit.

The Ram­blers suc­cess­fully ap­pealed the de­ci­sion by league pres­i­dent Brian White­head, con­tend­ing the team was never told the player – Colton McKenna – had not paid his fee to the league.

“This is good news for us,” Ram­blers pres­i­dent Gary Brown said Oct. 23 after hear­ing the team’s ap­peal was suc­cess­ful.

“To us, it was about the pay-toplay pol­icy and the process the league used to make its de­ci­sion. There was never any no­ti­fi­ca­tion given the club on the 13th that the player fee had not been re­ceived on the 12th. We were not told un­til after the game had been played. There was never a date given for play­ers that join a team after Oct. 1.”

The league’s ap­peals com­mit­tee held a hear­ing Oct. 22 and, in its de­ci­sion re­leased Oct. 23, de­cided to give the club back its win, but re­in­stated the orig­i­nal sus­pen­sion and fine – some­thing the team is con­sid­er­ing ap­peal­ing to Hockey Nova Sco­tia.

“We’re go­ing to meet as an or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­cide how to pro­ceed on that mat­ter,” Brown said.

In a let­ter to the team, a copy of which has been ob­tained by the Amherst News, the com­mit­tee said it feels “the league pres­i­dent erred by hear­ing an ap­peal filed by Amherst on Oct. 16, 2018 re­gard­ing the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion of Oct. 15, 2018 to is­sue a fine and sus­pen­sion to the Ram­blers.

“The com­mit­tee up­holds the ap­peal filed by the Ram­blers and over­turns the pres­i­dent’s (de­ci­sion) to award the game to Val­ley. The com­mit­tee fur­ther rules that the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion of Oct. 15, 2018 to is­sue a fine and sus­pen­sion to the Ram­blers be re­in­stated un­til such time as the ap­peal filed by the Ram­blers on Oct. 16, 2018 is held.”

Be­cause of a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est by mem­bers of the ap­peals com­mit­tee due to the hear­ing held Oct. 22, it was de­cided the Ram­blers ap­peal of Oct. 15 will need to be for­warded to the ap­peals com­mit­tee of Hockey Nova Sco­tia.

Should Hockey Nova Sco­tia not hear the ap­peal or rule there is no con­flict of in­ter­est, the MHL ap­peals com­mit­tee will hear the ap­peal.

The MHL is also mak­ing sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions so sim­i­lar si­t­u­a­tions won’t hap­pen again. The league is to present a re­vised player reg­is­tra­tion pol­icy to the board of gov­er­nors at its Jan­uary 2019 meeting for con­sid­er­a­tion, which will in­clude a pol­icy re­quir­ing play­ers join­ing a team after the player reg­is­tra­tion due date of Oct. 1 to be re­quired to pay the fee prior to par­tic­i­pat­ing in any game.

The pol­icy is to in­clude spe­cific sanc­tions for vi­o­lat­ing the pol­icy. It’s ex­pected the re­vised pol­icy will be adopted at the 2019 an­nual gen­eral meeting.

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