The general manager and head coach of the Castlegar Rebels has been suspended from the regional hockey league for 45 days.
On Sept. 6 the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) informed the Rebels that head coach and GM Bill Rotheisler was being disciplined for tampering — talking to players already signed to other teams in the league. The penalty is $500 and a 45-day suspension.
“When [the players] are signed with another team, they have to contact the team to get permission to talk to the players,” explains Bill Ohlhausen, president of the KIJHL.
The Rebels appealed the decision.
“The executive voted unanimously to appeal the decision, and so a formal appeal was sent to the league’s appeal committee on Sept. 9,” says Mike Johnstone, president of the Rebels. “The appeal was submitted in hopes the 45-day suspension would be reduced because the initial information we received from the league indicated our coach would be suspended from all activities for 45 days, meaning he couldn’t even run practices. We felt that put our players in a very tough position because we’re a developmental league, and we didn’t feel it was fair to our players to penalize them by removing the instruction of their coach for 45 days. Bill made an unfortunate decision and breached league rules, as a result, he’s being punished for it. We support the league’s efforts to crack down on individuals who violate the rules, we were hoping to minimize the adverse effects on our players, they’re our number one concern.”
The appeal was denied and the suspension is being upheld.
“The appeal committee — which is made up of five governors or coaches, etc. from another division — made the decision that they were going to uphold the tampering charge and that’s why he’s suspended for 45 days,” says Ohlhausen.
But as it turns out Rotheisler is not suspended from all activities. During the suspension Rotheisler can continue to run day to day activities, such as practices, but he can have no contact with the team one-hour prior to game time, continuing until one hour after the game ends. The Rebels will have interim coaches filling in on the bench during games for the remainder of Rotheisler’s suspension.
“The Rebels are extremely fortunate to have such an incredible support system; a number of local coaches have stepped forward to handle the bench duties for us for the duration of the suspension,” says Johnstone. “We can’t thank them enough for their efforts.”