Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Commissioner David Branch has confirmed that the league hired an investigator to examine allegations that several hockey parents paid for their sons to be selected in the 2022 OHL draft. The investigation comes after three Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) coaches claimed they had evidence, including text messages, showing parents paying over $30,000 to secure their sons’ draft positions.
In response to the allegations, Commissioner Branch released a statement, saying, “Last year we conducted an independent third-party investigation into the allegations that you mention and could find no evidence of any team tampering with the draft nor teams acting in a manner prejudicial to the welfare of the League. I would ask that… the people you have spoken to, please provide it to the League and we will review it and determine if further investigation is required.”
Rick Westhead, a reporter who has been covering the story, mentioned that Branch did not respond to questions regarding the details of the investigation. Specifically, he did not provide information on who was hired to scrutinize the claims, the scope of the OHL’s investigation, how long it lasted, or how much the league paid its investigator.
The allegations, if proven true, could have serious implications for the OHL and the integrity of its drafting process. The league has a responsibility to ensure a fair and transparent system for all players and their families. Furthermore, such allegations could also tarnish the reputation of youth hockey in general, creating an environment where parents feel the need to pay large sums of money to give their children an advantage in the sport.
As the investigation continues, the OHL and its stakeholders must work together to address these allegations and take appropriate action if necessary. Ensuring the integrity of the draft process and maintaining a fair playing field for all aspiring players should be the league’s top priority. Fans, players, and their families will be closely watching the developments of this story as it unfolds.