The team was punished for several player-benefit violations, including flights for family members.
CALGARY, Alberta — The Western Hockey League suspended Portland Winterhawks coach and general manager Mike Johnston for the rest of the season, fined the team $200,000 and took away several draft picks Wednesday because of player-benefit violations over the past four seasons.
The WHL said the Winterhawks will be excluded from the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL bantam draft and will forfeit their first-round selections in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Should the first-round selection in 2014 not be available due to a conditional trade, Portland will surrender its second- and third-round picks.
The Winterhawks’ violations included paying for training regimens for players, flights for players’ families and providing a cellphone for the team captain for three seasons.
The WHL’s audit found no violations involving monetary payments made to players, their families or agents, or any violations related to the league’s educational packages, the team said.
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