After almost a week of frustrated comments from fans, the AIHL has expanded on their initial statement made last Thursday in regards to the penalties handed to the Sydney Ice Dogs after indiscretions at the end of the 2011 AIHL season. Offering a discussion on the details, Andrew Hewitt reports.
For some of the Ice Dogs faithful, Good Friday 2012 will be set in their minds as a sad day. Most woke up to news spread by HSN that the AIHL had announced penalties to the Ice Dogs as an organisation as well as an individual player.
This news as a whole was not welcomed with opened arms as the forums on Facebook and Twitter went into a spin. Questions were raised by fans and frustrations were vented over the long weekend.
The Hewitt Sports Network Facebook page went into a spin and even prompted AIHL Commissioner Tyler Lovering to direct comments to him via email.
Breaking the statement down, the AIHL discussed the incident and investigation.
Giving detail, the AIHL were able to clear up what had until now been purely speculation and rumours in regards to the severity of the incident. It was announced that one of the accused, assaulted a security guard of the Medibank Icehouse and the behaviour leading up to and post incident was all within “close vicinity” of key stakeholders and VIP’s who had been invited to the AIHL Finals.
Originally citing one player, the AIHL revealed that there were in fact three members of the Sydney Ice Dogs (two of them management) that went under investigation after the alleged event.
An independent Conduct Tribunal was brought in to asses the situation and pass judgement on the three accused individuals and with the assistance of CCTV and statements of many, they were able to come to a conclusion. As far as penalty for the Ice Dogs as an organisation was concerned, the AIHL dealt with the matter in house as they decided the extent of the Code of Conduct breach.
Without naming names, the AIHL then laid out the penalties awarded to the accused after all three had been found guilty.
Directly from the AIHL statement, the penalties are as follows :
- Participant 1 – 2 game suspension (In addition to the 2 games the Sydney Ice Dogs had suspended him for) and banned from being an official of an AIHL club (either as Captain or on the committee etc, or as coach) for 1 year.
- Participant 2 – 6 game ban from acting as a team official (In addition to the 4 games the Sydney Ice Dogs had suspended him for)
- Participant 3 – Banned for life from the AIHL and fined $2500. The severity of this penalty resulted from this Participant assaulting an Ice House security guard.
The penalties that have been enforced on the Ice Dogs as an organisation include the adoption of appropriate management policies and procedures as well as an import penalty that was described in the leagues first statement.
The import penalty however, did require clarification and via Twitter, Tyler Lovering was able to oblige. When HSN follower Aimeé asked a question pertaining to the import ruling, Mr Lovering responded with the clarification.
Although not part of the AIHL statement, HSN understand that as well as these penalties, the Sydney Ice Dogs have also been handed a hefty fine not dissimilar to those that had been discussed in comments made by readers of our previous article on the matter.
Noone would doubt that these are severe penalties, however when the crimes are of the nature that they were, then action must be taken.
Many have suggested over the past week that the fans are being penalised and that the standard will not match the price on the ticket.
One import player less on the roster will not be the difference between lifting the Goodall Cup and not in 2012 for the Ice Dogs. The Sydney club has signed some great imports for the 2012 season and also have a brilliant selection of Australians to choose from including Australian representatives ranging in age and experience.
There have also been some who have criticised the league in their handling of the situation.
Although as stated, there have been over 80 volunteer hours put into the resolution, very nearly all who are involved in the AIHL (including HSN) run on a volunteer basis and announcements of the penalties, simply, should have come sooner. HSN have campaigned AIHL numerous times to have a statement made on the situation and to have it is great but the timing could have been better.
If this had been announced earlier fans would have had time to adjust to the penalties and there could be more positive news filling the pages AIHL news.
Having said this, the work put in by both the AIHL and Sydney Ice Dogs should be recognised. This has been the biggest negative incident that the league has had to deal with in their short history and the task has obviously not been a simple one. Since September, the Ice Dogs have made major adjustments to ensure that this does not occur again and it is this attitude that will see the proud Sydney club come through this tough time in a positive manner.
In response to the AIHL announcement, the Ice Dogs have also released a statement that acknowledges the punishment as well as the changes that the club has made.
If there is one message that has been sent loud and clear by the fans of the game this week, is that passion for the game, clubs and league has never been greater and with under three weeks until the first puck drop, excitement is building.
by Andrew Hewitt
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