"What I'm doing now is I'm trying to fight this for the next people that are coming up. It's going to happen again because it has happened before me and it's happening to me now. It's going to happen to somebody else unless somebody steps in." - Keli Corpse
NORWICH - The Norwich Merchants are waiting to hear back from the Ontario Hockey Federation, as they fight the penalties that were issued against them last summer.
Head Coach Keli Corpse reached out to Devon Young, the President of the Woodstock Navy Vets, to inform him that his son Colt had some ice rented and was inviting Junior hockey players to skate with him. Colt plays NCAA hockey in the United States and he likes to rent ice every summer and invite other players to skate with him in the off-season.
Corpse had coached Young back in the day, so he sent him a text in May to let him know about Colt's ice time.
"I said hey Devon my son is running a skate and I just wanted to let you know if you wanted to send your guys out for some ice time. He said yes that sounds good, I'll talk to our GM and get back to you. So I said here is my son's phone number and you can let him know."
Corpse says Colt moved forward with the ice time and a couple of Vets players showed up.
"Two players did actually, their captain Lincoln Hendry was on the skate and Kyle Baker. Those two players have actually skated with my son in the past, but the only thing that has changed now is that I'm the Merchants coach."
Corpse had a brief meeting with the Provincial Junior Hockey League about the skate afterward, and received shocking news while he was vacationing in Cuba.
"A couple of days later I found out that I had been suspended for a year and the Merchants had been fined a pretty hefty fine. The suspensions and the fines were the max, there was no explanation really to it and there was no chance to actually produce any evidence that we had."
Corpse says the two fines against the Merchants total $7,000. The Merchants tried to appeal the decision through the PJHL but failed.
He says they're now trying to appeal the decision through the OHF, but nothing has happened for the past seven months.
"I know that I am going to be suspended for a year because of how much they are dragging their feet, but what I'm doing now is I'm trying to fight this for the next people that are coming up. It's going to happen again because it has happened before me and it's happening to me now. It's going to happen to somebody else unless somebody steps in."
Philip McKee, the Executive Director of the OHF, released the following statement to Heart FM when he was asked about the situation.
"The appeal is submitted and it is in the process. Our process is two steps. First is a determination if it qualifies and second if it qualifies for a hearing. At this point, it is still to be determined if it qualifies for a hearing."
We have also reached out to the PJHL for comment.
Corpse says his assistant coaches have done a great job leading the Merchants this season. Norwich is currently sitting in third place in the Doherty Division standings with 43 points.
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