OHL suspends coach over hazing episode

The Ontario Hockey League handed the Windsor Spitfires' Moe Mantha a one-year suspension as general manager and 25 games as coach for a hazing incident involving several of his players.

OHL commissioner David Branch made the announcement Tuesday after wrapping up his two-week investigation that included discussions with club owner Steve Riolo, Mantha, two assistant coaches, two team trainers and 25 players.

Mantha received an additional 15-game suspension as coach for a fight involving players Akim Aliu and Steve Downie during a Sept. 28 team practice.

The Spitfires have also been fined $35,000 – $25,000 for the hazing and $10,000 for the fight. The league maximum fine per incident is $25,000.

The alleged hazing incident occurred following a Sept. 9 pre-season game when the league claims rookie players were told to strip and made to stand naked inside a small bathroom at the back of the team bus.

"I conclude that the lack of leadership and what transpired were dishonourable and prejudicial to the well being of the league and its players," said Branch in a statement.

The OHL requires clubs to put up posters in every team locker-room stating that anyone involved in hazing, including those who don't report instances of it, will be suspended.

"The OHL has a zero tolerance policy against hazing, our member teams know that, and that is why it is imperative that the league make a strong statement against it," said Branch.

"The league and its members are committed to providing an environment where each player joining the league is welcomed in a professional and dignified manner," Branch added.

The OHL will not reveal the identities of the players in order protect their privacy.

Downie, a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, left the team after the fight and demanded a trade.