Knights coach suspended

JIM CRESSMAN, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

KINGSTON -- London Knights president and head coach Dale Hunter was suspended indefinitely by the OHL yesterday while the league investigates his third ejection this season. Hunter was assessed a game misconduct by referee Joel Washkurak during the third period of Thursday's 6-2 loss in Peterborough after what the league termed "inappropriate gesturing" toward the official.

Hunter gestured with his fingers that the referee should have been wearing glasses. There was also a report he did a variation of thumbing his nose at the official, which Hunter denies.

He said he was upset the penalties were lopsided, 27-17 against the Knights with the Petes enjoying a 12-7 advantage in power plays.

Peterborough scored five straight power-play goals, including the last two with a two-man advantage, after the Knights had led 2-0.

"I've nothing to say . . . I can't," Hunter said before sitting out last night's game with Kingston.

He also won't be behind the bench tomorrow in Ottawa.

It's the second time this season he's been suspended for gesturing. He sat out the first four games of the schedule; two games for sarcastically clapping for the referee during a preseason game and two games when Josh Beaulieu left the bench with play in progress and initiated a fight during another exhibition game.

Hunter had previously been warned by OHL commissioner David Branch that the league would not tolerate his gesturing toward officials.

Hunter avoided a suspension when tossed from a game Dec. 29 in Owen Sound for comments to the referee but was fined $1,000.

A game misconduct to a coach normally results in a $250 fine but Ted Baker, the league's director of hockey operations, said Hunter is a "repeat offender."

"This is the third game misconduct for Dale Hunter . . . and there's a concern whenever you have a repeat offender, whether it's a coach or a player, but at the same time we want to make sure we have all the information," Baker said from Toronto.

"The indefinite suspension is an opportunity for us to review it further with Dale (next week) and to determine just what action needs to be taken."

Knights rookie forward Jordan Foreman is also suspended a minimum three games for the gross misconduct he received late in the third period Thursday for resisting a linesman.

The league has also requested the game video to review a second-period line brawl that resulted in four automatic two-game suspensions to Knights goalie Adam Dennis and forward Kelly Thomson, and Petes goalie Jeff MacDougald and forward Patrick Kaleta.

They all became involved in secondary fights on the same stoppage.

"We're going to review certain situations within the brawl," Baker said, without going into specifics.

He said the league also wants to see what the video shows of an incident in the seats at the end of the brawl.

Knights forward Jeff Whitfield, who didn't dress for the game, was seen on the TV broadcast in the middle of some fans.

One spectator was removed by Peterborough police.

Baker said there was no report from Washkurak or officiating supervisor Dave Lynch "to indicate any interaction in the seats, but it was brought to the league's attention (yesterday).

"We're aware there was a situation in the stands (but) I have no idea at this time . . . what occurred," Baker said.


Videos

Photos