Former Bulldog suspended by USHL
A tumultuous season has come to an abrupt end for a former Hamilton Bulldogs defenceman.
The United States Hockey League has suspended Ondrej Kachyna indefinitely while it investigates reports that he signed a professional contract with a team in his native Czech Republic while playing for the Chicago Steel — a breach of USHL rules.
The 19-year-old started the campaign with the Bulldogs but left in late December frustrated with his lack of ice time. He was picked up by the Steel a month later.
The USHL first announced its investigation into Kachyna’s status May 12, just as Chicago was about to face the Sioux City Musketeers in the opening game of the Clark Cup — the championship for junior hockey in the U.S. Little has changed since. According to Steel spokesperson Rob Sanderson, the matter is still under review and Kachyna was not expected to return to the lineup for Game 5 of the series Tuesday. He also directed The Spectator an official statement in which the team said no professional contract had been executed to the best of its knowledge.
Kachyna, however, confirmed he had signed a deal that would take him home next season. An agreement with Ceske Budejovice, a team in the second-level WSM Liga, has also been widely reported online by Czech-language news outlets.
USHL rules state that a player can’t be under a professional contract (that is, a guarantee or promise of money) of any kind and play in the league at the same time. That differs from the Ontario Hockey League, where players are permitted to sign, for instance, entry level contracts with NHL clubs.
If he is under a professional contract, it can affect his amateur status with the NCAA — as well as that of his teammates and opponents.
The Bulldogs placed Kachyna on waivers in early January after he failed to return to Hamilton from the Czech Republic after the Ontario Hockey League’s holiday break. Before leaving for home, the big, mobile blueliner said he only planned to come back to Canada if he was claimed by another team or traded.
“It’s hard,” he said at the time. “I came here to play hockey and I just warm the bench.”
Prior to leaving, the 6-foot-3, 201-pound left shot was a healthy scratch in all but 13 games in his second OHL season. In Chicago, he was likewise in and out of the lineup, registering two assists and a plus-minus rating of minus-7 in 12 games. He also suited up eight times in the playoffs.
Former Hamilton Bulldog, Ondrej Kachyna.