The Delta Ice Hawks have been penalized eight points for dressing an ineligible player in four of their recent games.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League announced in a press release Friday (Jan. 20) the results of an investigation into allegations the Ice Hawks had participated in games using an illegal roster.
The investigation found the team did roster an ineligible player in four of its recent victories: against the Surrey Knights on Dec. 29 (6-1), the Richmond Sockeyes on Jan. 1 (7-6), the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Jan. 3 (9-1) and the Chilliwack Jets on Jan. 10 (4-0).
The release did not specify which player or players had been ineligible or why.
“As per league regulations teams found participating in games with an illegal roster will result in the forfeiture of points earned during those games,” the PJHL said in its release. “The above games will be deemed as a forfeit and two points in each contest will be awarded to Delta’s opponent.”
The league said it would not be making any further comments on the matter or its findings as the investigation is now closed.
The Ice Hawks released a statement Saturday (Jan. 21) explaining the PJHL’s investigation was the result of the team reporting a registration error to the BC Hockey office.
According to the statement, the transfer of an affiliate player was approved in the registration system by the minor hockey association, the PJHL and BC Hockey, but the player’s name was not posted to the Delta Ice Hawks’ affiliates roster.
“In light of the system error, BC Hockey submitted a ticket to the registration system’s IT support. The findings from the ticket are still pending,” the team said in its statement.
“Notwithstanding, the PJHL issued a ruling with respect to the forfeiture of the four games in which the player had participated in. The Delta Ice Hawks respect the PJHL’s decision and look forward to the remainder of the very exciting season and playoffs.”
With the league’s decision, the Ice Hawks fell from first place in the Tom Shaw Conference with 64 points to second with 56 points and an adjusted record of 28 wins and 10 loses through 38 games.
Richmond, meanwhile, moved from second to first, with an adjusted total of 64 points through 41 games (30 wins, seven loses, four overtime/shootout loses).
Despite the drama, Delta added two more points to its season on Saturday night, beating the Mission City Outlaws 2-0.
Defenceman Caelan Mander had the game-winner with his third goal of the season, burying the rebound on a shot from Carson Merriman just past the nine minute mark in the first period.
After a scoreless second period, the Outlaws pulled goalie Max Fowle on the power play with a minute left in the game. But as the clock wound down, Ryan Bal scored the insurance goal with a shot on the empty net from behind the Ice Hawks’ blue line.
Ice Hawks goalie Zach Shaughnessy stopped all 28 shots he face on the way to his league-leading fifth shut out of the season, and was named the game’s first star.
Fowle, who stopped 40 of 41 shots, was named second star, while Mander was named third.
Delta’s next game is at home against the Langley Trappers on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The puck drops at the Ladner Leisure Centre at 7:35 p.m.