Two Niagara IceDogs players have been banned from the Ontario Hockey League, while the team's owner and general manager has been suspended from his GM duties for two years, the league announced Thursday.
The sanctions came after the OHL conducted an independent third-party investigation into allegations that certain IceDogs players violated league policies, including the maltreatment, bullying and harassment prevention policy. The OHL did not release specifics of those allegations.
The investigator interviewed approximately 15 former players, coaches, staff and team officials over a period of several months, per the league's press release.
IceDogs captain Landon Cato and goaltender Joshua Rosenzweig were the two players kicked out of the league. The investigation found that the two 20-year-olds from Toronto "participated in serious violations of the player maltreatment policy and violated the OHL code of conduct."
Cato, a defenceman, played three seasons in the OHL and scored two goals and 21 points over his 123-game career. Rosenzweig posed a 5.03 goals-against average and .874 save percentage over 77 games across three seasons.
Darren DeDobbelaer, the team's governor, owner and general manager, was found to have violated the league's confidentiality directive and was suspended from his GM role until June 1, 2025.
DeDobbelaer purchased the IceDogs from Bill and Denise Burke in May of 2022. The Burkes' sale of the team came on the heels of their two sons, former general manager Joey Burke and former head coach Billy Burke, being suspended for using offensive language to describe a female IceDogs colleague.
Niagara was also fined $100,000 and was stripped of its first-round selection in the 2024 OHL draft.
The IceDogs were the worst team in the OHL in 2022-23, finishing with just 33 points — 16 fewer than the 19th-ranked Erie Otters.