Hunter set to face OHL

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

OTTAWA -- London Knights president and head coach Dale Hunter has a date with the OHL tomorrow.

Hunter will appear before commissioner David Branch and director of hockey operations Ted Baker at the league's Toronto office after being ejected from Thursday's 6-2 loss in Peterborough.

It was the third time this season Hunter has been tossed from a game. He was suspended indefinitely on Friday.

"Dale has been ejected three times and we're at that point where it has become an issue," Branch said yesterday.

"Through Dale's actions, it would appear this has become something of habit and it's a cause for great concern. A coach is in a position of authority and setting an example for players and young fans. They have a deep responsibility to conduct themselves in a fashion that sets a very positive role model."

Hunter, who was labelled a "repeat offender" by Branch, was suspended for two games earlier this season when ejected from a preseason game for sarcastically applauding a referee's call.

He was fined $1,000 after being ejected from a Dec. 29 in Owen Sound. A game misconduct to a coach usually only carries a $250 fine.

"This is the first time we will have some real face-to-face open dialogue and hopefully we can find some common ground and find a resolution on how we might best go forward," Branch said.

Hunter was ejected with 8:43 remaining in the third period after Peterborough scored five straight power-play goals to erase a 2-0 London lead.

Hunter gestured toward referee Joel Washkurak that he needed glasses.

"Sometimes everything has to come to a head, so now we're basically playing a passive game out there," Hunter said following yesterday's 5-0 win over the Ottawa 67's.

"We're going to go play a no-trap game and just be patient. It was a game in Peterborough where both teams got riled out, now we have to re-adjust our thinking and play with no emotion.

"I'm going to talk to Dave and it's his call."

The league is also reviewing the line brawl that occurred late in the second period that night, plus a gross misconduct assessed Knights rookie Jordan Foreman for resisting a linesman late in the game. Foreman is suspended a minimum three games.

On another matter, Baker, who doubles as referee-in-chief, said that although the league doesn't announce any discipline to its officials, referees Ryan O'Neill and Rob Palm will be held accountable for their error during Friday's game in Kingston.

The Knights left Dan Fritsche off the lineup card and Frontenacs coach Jim Hulton brought it to the officials' attention 1:25 into the game.

Rather than remove Fritsche from the game as OHL rules state, the officials added Fritsche to the score sheet and allowed him to play.

He assisted on the Knights' first goal, then scored late in the first period of a 5-0 win.

O'Neill and Palm then checked the rules during the first intermission and removed Fritsche from the game.

The Frontenacs indicated they would protest the game based on the Knights' use of an illegible player. But Baker said late Friday night that the league doesn't accept protests of a referee's decision.

"They did (err) by allowing (Fritsche) to continue and there's no excuse for that," Baker said yesterday.

"The league will take the necessary actions to ensure the accountability of its officials, as we do with all players and coaches and management."

Baker said the error may have occurred because O'Neill and Palm also referee in the Ontario Hockey Association, where the rules allow a player to be added to the score sheet after the game has started.


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