The Niagara IceDogs violated the Ontario Hockey League's Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment Protection and Prevention Policy and the Code of Conduct, the league announced last week.
As reported by The Athletic, the OHL fined the IceDogs $100,000 and denied the team its first pick in the 2024 OHL Priority Selection draft. Team owner Darren DeDobbelaer was suspended from that role as general manager for two seasons to June 1, 2025, and players Joshua Rosenzweig and Landon Cato have permanently lost the ability to participate in the OHL
The OHL said Rosenzweig and Cato participated in serious violations of the Player Maltreatment Policy and violated the OHL Code of Conduct. The league also said DeDobbelaer violated the confidentiality directive of the league despite being instructed to maintain the confidentiality of the investigation.
“The league retained an independent third-party investigator to conduct a thorough investigation," an OHL statement read. "At that time, the commissioner advised the current team owner, DeDobbelaer, that in order to protect the integrity of the process, the investigation was to be kept confidential and he was not to speak with players or others concerning the subject matter.”
The OHL said its investigator interviewed 15 former players, coaches, staff and team officials over a period of several months before coming to this conclusion on this most recent investigation, The Athletic reported.
“The protection of players on and off the ice is the paramount concern of the OHL,” the league said Thursday. “Violations of the OHL Code of Conduct or the Maltreatment Policy, most importantly, puts player safety and experience at risk and impacts the reputation of our teams, league and of the sport of hockey.”
The IceDogs have been punished by the league before, according to The Athletic.
In April 2022, then-team governor and then-minority owner Joey Burke along with then-head coach and then-minority owner Billy Burke were indefinitely suspended by the OHL.
Both were also fined a combined $150,000 after an investigation by the OHL was launched into transcripts of a March 6, 2022, WhatsApp conversation. Both Joey and Billy Burke are still suspended, and DeDobbelaer took over for them as team owner.
In March 2019, a settlement between the OHL and the IceDogs fined the organization $150,000 and forced it to forfeit its first-round pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection Draft for the club’s violation of player recruitment rules.